When you’ve received medical care, you expect to pay a bill, even if you have health insurance. However, once you receive that bill, can you trust that you’re being charged accurately? A new class-action lawsuit filed earlier this year against HCA Healthcare in Florida alleges that many patients were charged exorbitant surprise fees after visiting the emergency department of several different hospitals.
Class Action Lawsuit
The lawsuit, which was filed in the Southern District of Florida, names three hospitals Poinciana Medical Center, Fort Walton Beach Medical Center, and Palms West Hospital. The suit alleges that three patients who visited the emergency rooms of these hospitals received surprise surcharges on their bills. In one case, a man who went to Poinciana’s emergency department received a $23,000 bill. Approximately $4,000 of this bill was an unexplained surcharge. The patient was not notified verbally of the charge, it was not posted anywhere in the hospital, and it was not contained in his admission contract. According to the lawsuit, the surcharges were placed on the bill simply because the patient went to the emergency department.
The proposed class action seeks anyone financially responsible for treatment received in an HCA Healthcare emergency department in the last four years. HCA Healthcare states that they have properly advised patients of fees and complied with the law. The company has filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuits.
News of the lawsuit comes in the wake of a number of headlines involving surprise billing. Surprise medical bills have become an urgent political issue that Congress is looking at. Some states, such as Texas, have already passed laws to protect patients from surprise medical bills. These bills frequently come when patients are at their most vulnerable and are being seen in an emergency department. In many cases, patients are not informed that they are being seen by an out-of-network provider or that there are undisclosed surcharges involved in their care. A bipartisan bill in Congress was tabled at the end of 2019, but there is hope that it will be a priority in 2020.
Contact an Experienced Attorney
If you’ve been hit with a surprise medical bill, you should consult with an experienced attorney. Gregg Goldfarb has over 20 years of experience and is here to help you. Contact him online or call 305-374-7000 to schedule a free consultation.