Thursday, November 23, 2017

No medical bills for some Colo. shooting victims

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DENVER — Some of the victims fighting for their lives after being wounded in the movie-theater shooting rampage may face another challenge when they get out of the hospital: enormous medical bills without the benefit of health insurance.

Members of the public, along with Warner Bros., the studio that released the Batman movie The Dark Knight Rises, have contributed nearly $2 million to help victims, though it's not clear how much of that will cover medical expenses. One family is raising money on its own online.

And three of the five hospitals that treated victims said Wednesday they will limit or completely wipe out medical bills.

Some of the victims, however, still face a long recovery ahead and the associated medical costs — without health insurance. There's no exact count of how many of them don't have insurance but statistics suggest many of them might not be covered.

Nearly one in three Coloradans, or about 1.5 million, either have no health insurance or have coverage that is inadequate, according to a 2011 report by The Colorado Trust, a health care advocacy group. The highest uninsured rate was among adults between 18 and 34 and many of those injured in the shootings are in that age group.

State officials said they are not sure whether any of the victims qualify for emergency Medicaid assistance available to needy patients. Victims also could get financial assistance from a state program that helps people hurt during crimes, including lost wages and counseling.

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