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Emergency Room Cost Overcharges
If you were an uninsured patient billed an excessive amount for emergency room treatment at a major hospital, you may be the victim of emergency room overcharges. An emergency room bill for uninsured patients is often much greater than the emergency room cost or ER bill that is submitted to an insurance company for the same ER treatment. If you have an emergency room medical bill dispute—regardless of whether you paid all, a portion, or none of the bill—attorneys who are currently investigating excessive emergency room fees and ER overcharges would like to speak with you.
Most everyone knows that receiving emergency room treatment may be expensive, but sometimes it is unavoidable. People end up in a hospital ER for a number of reasons: they don’t have a regular doctor; their heart is pounding; they have suffered an injury; a dog bite or a severe allergic reaction requires immediate attention.
Uninsured Emergency Room Cost
Whatever the situation, patients who are uninsured and don’t qualify for Medicare, Medical or other state-provided coverage can see emergency costs anywhere from 2-4 times the rate of insured patients for the same exact ER treatment, which can translate to thousands of dollars. This practice is not only grossly unfair, but it often impacts those least able to pay such excessive ER charges. As a result of over-billing, uninsured patients end up leaving the emergency room with bills that are completely out of proportion to those people with medical insurance for the same ER treatment rendered.
More than 46 million Americans do not have health insurance. When these people are unable to pay outrageous emergency room overcharges, they can become harassed by collection agencies, have their credit ruined, or even wind up in bankruptcy court.
ER Charges for Uninsured Patients vs. Insured Patients
Hospitals nationwide charge their so-called grossly inflated “retail prices” to their uninsured patients, whereas insured patients typically are charged rates 50-75 percent less. This means that uninsured patients end up being billed for emergency room care at double or triple the rates charged to the insurer of the patients sitting right next to them in the ER, for the exact same treatment.
For instance, an uninsured patient may be billed $15,000 for a single overnight stay, which includes diagnostics—scans, x-rays, etc.—any treatments, and drugs. But an insurance carrier will typically be charged $3,000-$5,000 for the exact same stay and treatment. The same is true with minor injuries, such as a dog bite. In such a case, an uninsured patient might be charged $800 for a few shots and stitches, whereas the insured patient's carrier is charged $250.
While attorneys advise ER patients to check their hospital admission agreement and inquire as to potential charges before signing on the dotted line, unfortunately, in a true emergency, careful review of the emergency room admission agreement may not be feasible. As such, an uninsured emergency room patient may simply wind up at the mercy of high emergency room costs and only realize his excessive emergency room bill later on when it's too late.
Attorneys have filed successful lawsuits against hospitals, including a major hospital chain in Washington, alleging plaintiffs have been overcharged for ER treatment, especially when compared with insured patients, or patients with Medicare and Medicaid.
Hospital ER Overcharges Lawsuit
Some pending lawsuits are awaiting class certification. Patients who were uninsured and received treatment at a hospital ER and did not receive a special discount on their billing, may be eligible to file a lawsuit against the hospital, regardless of whether they paid all, part or none of their hospital bill.
Emergency Room Overcharging Legal HelpIf you or a loved one has suffered similar losses, please click the link below and your complaint will be sent to a Consumer Fraud lawyer who may evaluate your claim at no cost or obligation.
Last updated on Jan-25-15
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