(AP Photo/Peter M. Fredin)

Colorado lawmakers are considering a bill that could require hospitals in the state to take active steps to make sure that patients understand what they will be paying for care and what payment assistance options might be available.

The Hospital Payment Assistance Program bill, SB12-134, would require a hospital to offer each patient information about the hospital’s charity program and discount program.

A hospital would have to offer discounts to an uninsured patient with a family income up to 400% of the federal poverty level who is not getting a discount through the Colorado indigent care program.

A hospital could not charge a patient a rate exceeding the cost of providing care.

A hospital also would have to offer a patient a payment plan and follow specified procedures before sending a bill to a collection agency.

The bill already has passed in the Colorado Senate and has received a second reading in the Colorado House.