BJC HealthCare has changed the “upper level of eligibility” for the charity care it provides and now requires uninsured patients to submit, as a minimum, co-pays for medical services. The nonprofit organization, the St. Louis area’s largest employer, has been operating under increasing financial pressure, and its employees were hit with layoffs and reductions in certain benefits last year.
Beginning Jan. 1, BJC reduced the pool of patients eligible for financial assistance to those earning up to 300 percent of the federal poverty level. It previously provided aid to those who earned up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level. A spokeswoman said the changed policy “was in response to the Affordable Care Act and the requirement that most Americans should go to the marketplace and buy insurance, knowing that there are subsidies available to low-income people.”