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Cost For Medical Care Changing For Inmates

The cost for medical care for Texas inmates is changing beginning September 1, 2019.

Beginning September 1, 2019, a new state law goes into effect which amends Section 501.063, Texas Government Code, and changes the fee amount the Department of Criminal Justice is required to collect from each offender who requests a visit to a health care provider.

Currently, inmates are charged a $100.00 fee for the first health care visit requested. This fee covers all health care visits requested for one year. Any visit requested after the one year period will be charged another $100.00 fee. Inmates who do not request a health care visit are not charged a fee. This structure meant that if an inmate requested just one health care visit or ten health care visits throughout the year, the cost is $100.

The new fee structure will charge $13.55 for each health care visit requested up to a maximum of $100 per year. Under the new law, inmates pay only for the health care visit they request up to $100 per state fiscal year.

The fee is charged to the offender’s trust fund account. If there is not enough money in the trust fund account, the law requires that 50% of each future deposit to the trust fund be applied to the amount owed until the total amount of the visit is paid.

Inmates will not be charged for a health care visit that is for:

  • an emergency or life-threatening situation;
  • follow-up services recommended by the health care staff;
  • chronic care (including communicable diseases such as HIV, AIDS and TB);
  • prenatal care;
  • health screening and evaluations related to the diagnostic and reception process; or,
  • health care services necessary to comply with State law and regulations.

Inmates will not be denied health care if they do not have the money in their trust fund to pay the fee.

 In addition, inmates will not be denied parole or be required to pay any unpaid health care fees to be eligible for parole or as a condition for parole.

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