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     28-13-32.9.   Determination of person's ability to pay--Factors. A county is financially responsible only for the hospitalization expense which is beyond the person's ability to pay. A person's ability to pay is determined according to the following:
             (1)      Determine the household's contributions for taxes, social security, medicare, and payments to other standard retirement programs. A household's contribution for taxes is limited to the amount of taxes payable for the actual number of dependents in the household;
             (2)      Determine the household's expenses, including actual rent paid or scheduled principal and interest payments for a personal residence plus property taxes and homeowner's insurance costs; all utilities; child care expenses related to work schedules; grocery expenses up to the maximum allowed under the Food Stamp Program's Thrifty Food Plan as specified in rules promulgated by the Department of Social Services pursuant to chapter 1-26, plus household supplies and toiletries; basic auto expenses, gasoline, and upkeep; employee-paid health, life, and auto insurance payments; installment payments for medical bills; recurring expenses for medicine and medical care; court-ordered child support and alimony paid; automobile installment payments for one vehicle; clothing, reasonable in relation to the household's income; and installment payments, limited to necessary household items required by the household to maintain the needs of everyday living and reasonable in relation to the household's income;
             (3)      Determine the amount of a household's discretionary income by subtracting the sum of the household's contributions and expenses from the household's income determined according to § 28-13-32.7. Divide the amount of the household's discretionary income in half and multiply the resulting amount by forty-four dollars and ninety-six cents. The result added to the household's adjusted resources determined according to § 28-13-32.8 equals the household's ability to pay the debt and constitutes the household's share of the hospital bill. The amount of forty-four dollars and ninety-six cents represents the amount of medical or hospital expenses which can be amortized over sixty months at twelve percent annual interest per dollar of payment.
     The amount of the county's obligation is determined by subtracting the amount of the household's ability to pay from the hospital charges computed according to § 28-13-29. If the household defaults on the payment of its share of the hospital bill, a hospital may not pursue a collection action against the county for the defaulted payment.

Source: SL 1997, ch 170, § 16; SL 1998, ch 165, § 2.

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