Request Legal Help Now - Free
LAWSUITS NEWS & LEGAL INFORMATION
Home Page >> Lawyer Interviews >> Medical Billing and Hospital Overcharges..

Medical Billing and Hospital Overcharges - What Happened to the Hippocratic Oath of "first, do no harm"?

. By

Attorney helps people who have been overcharged on their hospital medical bills - from chest cold to car crash victim

Tampa, FLAttorney Ben Stewart is seeing an increase in hospital overcharging, mostly to uninsured people. "Look carefully at your medical bills. If you have been overcharged and have either started a payment schedule or completed payment, you may be entitled to monetary damages," says Stewart.

"Say you have no insurance and the hospital bills you $100 for an aspirin-yes, it's been done," adds Stewart. "If you can't pay, the hospital will send your account to a collection agency and they will start actions against you. People have claimed bankruptcy because of hospital overcharges."

Stewart also notes that hospital chains seem to be the major culprits, charging outrageous "retail prices" to their uninsured patients, whereas insured patients typically are charged rates 50-75 percent less. Overcharging occurs not just from emergency room billing; Stewart has seen grossly inflated charges on hospital stays and prescriptions, lab tests and x-rays. From administrative fees to equipment charges, hospitals and clinics routinely overcharge their uninsured patients for services wherever and however they can. It's like the wild west. Although there aren't laws to keep hospitals and clinics in check, there is legal recourse.

Overcharging for Medical Records



Last year a class action lawsuit was filed against a New York hospital allegedly for gouging patients for copies of their medical records - charging them twice what the law allows. The New York Post reported that it got caught when retiree Vicky Ortiz was charged $2,963 for 1,758 pages, or $1.50 per page plus an administrative fee for her medical records. Of course, attorneys regularly request copies of such records for their clients and in this case Ortiz' lawyer needed the documents for a personal-injury lawsuit she filed against a nursing home. But the hospital refused to lower the price. A number of similar class actions have been filed nationwide against hospitals claiming they collected "illegal and grossly excessive charges" for copies of the patients' medical records, some of which were collected by a third-party vendor.

In 2015 The Atlantic wrote that on average, all U.S. hospitals charged patients (or their insurers) 3.4 times what the federal government thinks these procedures cost. The hospital incurs $100 of Medicare-allowable costs, and the hospital charges $340, explained the authors, adding that the ratio of hospital charges to costs has only increased over time: In 1984, it was just 1.35, but by 2011, it was 3.3. And as Stewart said, it's likely increased even more.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in 2015 said the 50 hospitals in the U.S. with the highest markup of prices over their actual costs are charging out-of-network patients and the uninsured more than 10 times the costs allowed by Medicare. It's a markup of more than 1,000 percent for the same medical services. Quipped the researchers, "What other industry can you think of that marks up their prices by 1,000 percent and remains in business?"

"There is no justification for these outrageous rates, but no one tells hospitals they can't charge them," said researcher Gerard Anderson. "For the most part, there is no regulation of hospital rates and there are no market forces that force hospitals to lower their rates. They charge these prices simply because they can."

Stewart says that insured hospital patients rarely get charged the "retail rates" because most private health insurers negotiate lower rates for their patients, but uninsured patients are likely to be charged the full rate. "Insurance companies will negotiate with the hospital-so the insured patient is charged less," says Stewart. "And some hospital networks will negotiate with the debt collector for a percentage of your unpaid medical bill." In some hospitals it seems that the Hippocratic Oath has left the building.

READ ABOUT HOSPITAL EXCESSIVE BILLING LAWSUITS

Hospital Excessive Billing Legal Help

If you or a loved one have suffered losses in this case, please click the link below and your complaint will be sent to a drugs & medical lawyer who may evaluate your Hospital Excessive Billing claim at no cost or obligation.

READER COMMENTS

Posted by

on
i am uninsured and had to pay 200.00 a month for one prescription/plus cost of meds 66.00'now doctor closed down with note on door sayin/due to circumstances beyoud our control/leaving me and alot of others with addiction

Posted by

on
i have 2 air evac bills for $30,000 my car insurance paid 10,000 on one and my health insurance paid 900$.

Posted by

on
I have 3 hospital bills have went on to claim bankruptcy
1st 11/2016. Renown Hospital Reno NV
Complained i was over tired
they ran EKGs Cat Scans amongst other things bill was so in the 1000s never completed treatment pulled the iv out of my arm
and walked out the front door

2nd 03/2017. Barton Hospital
unnec essary test performed
120 dollars for 2 tynelol

3 St Mary 01/2018 havent seen itemized bill yet

ADD YOUR COMMENT ON THIS STORY

Fields marked * are mandatory. Please read our comment guidelines before posting.

*Name:

Note: Your name will be published with your comment.

*Email Address:

Your email will only be used if a response is needed.
*Your Comment:

Are you the defendant or a subject matter expert on this topic with an opposing viewpoint? We'd love to hear your comments here as well, or if you'd like to contact us for an interview please submit your details here.


Click to learn more about LawyersandSettlements.com
Request Legal Help Now! - Free