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Florida patients with personal injuries charged high rates

Imagine being hurt in a car or truck accident and having to go to the hospital. Then, all of a sudden, you get a bill that is 65 times the average rate for your radiological services. These are the same services offered at all other hospitals, and you had no choice of where to go in your emergency situation. What do you do?

This is the center of an issue in Florida, right now. According to an Oct. 20 report, a federal lawsuit was filed against the North Florida Regional Medical Center and two other HCA hospitals because of overcharging patients who had been involved in car crashes for their diagnostic tests.

The hospital has allegedly reported that it has done nothing wrong, even though the lawsuit states that patients covered by Personal Injury Protection insurance coverage had seen a bill of up to 65 percent higher than normal for their radiological services. That's a problem, because Florida requires customary and reasonable pricing throughout its medical system.

To make a comparison, North Florida Regional has a pricing estimate of $1,881 and $3,326 for a CT scan for those who are not covered by insurance. One patient involved in the lawsuit claims that she had been charged $6,853 for a CT scan of her spine and $6,140 for a CT scan of her brain. Because her coverage was limited and exhausted, she had to pay the additional expenses, like chiropractic care, out of her own pocket, instead of being covered by insurance that should have been high enough to cover everything.

These patients suffered personal injuries and should have had their care covered. If you are in a similar situation or have injuries that need to be covered by compensation from the at-fault party, speaking with someone familiar with the law may help.

Source: Gainsville.com, "Lawsuit: North Florida, other HCA hospitals, overcharged" Christopher Curry, Nov. 05, 2014

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