Being a bit behind in some of my reading, I recently came across an article published on February 1, 2009, in Spanish in the newspaper LaRaza. For anyone who is uninsured in Illinois, which includes many people, this story should be of interest.
According to the article, in April of 2003, a woman named Aixa Reyes, a mother of four children, was fired after working 10 years making sandwiches for a factory. She earned $1200 per month, had no benefits and no ability to pay for health insurance. In August 2001, she went to Saint Mary of Nazareth Hospital for a sore foot, a result of uncontrolled diabetes. She was never asked about her ability to pay, according to the complaint against Resurrection Health Care Hospitals (HRC).
According to documents filed by by Clifford Law Offices, HRC charged Reyes $446 for that visit, which was an amount several times more than what they charged insured patients. Ms. Reyes later received calls from collection agents, and agreed to pay $50 per month. After she was lost a job that paid her $200, she made two more visits to the hospital for her chronic health problems. She was charged $3453 in December of 2002 and $4326 in March of 2004.
Ms. Reyes is one of the four uninsured patients who won a lawsuit against HRC (Niewinski et. Al. Vs. Resurrection Health Care) because they were charged excessively compared to what patients with insurance were charged, which according to the article, is a violation of the Consumer Fraud Act and Deceptive Business Practices of Illinois. The article states that HRC claims they have not committed any unfair actions, but they did agree to a settlement.
What was interesting about the article is that it also said that the hospital put a new pricing policy in effect, to provide vouchers for all eligible patients to receive aid, but that no one applied or received it for some reason. The article also stated that for services received by uninsured patients between September 16, 2001 through September 19, 2008, the hospital could recalculate their bills.
For more information visit the firm, in the section: www.resclassaction.com/