When Hospitals Sue Patients

This is a tough issue to write about. Are hospitals allowed to sue patients to get paid? These are big bills people are walking on and the hospitals want their cash. Wouldn’t any other business be allowed to do sue? If you get the WSJ then you can read the entire article here. Here are some highlights:

  • Nonprofit hospitals—which receive significant tax breaks because of their not-for-profit status—are more likely than for-profit hospitals to garnish the wages of patients, according to a study of Virginia hospitals published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The study examined hospital lawsuits that resulted in wage garnishment for unpaid bills.
  • In Virginia, where Mary Washington is based, nonprofit hospitals in 2017 filed 20,000 lawsuits against patients for unpaid debt, according to the study led by Dr. Marty Makary, a health-policy professor at Johns Hopkins University.
  • At Mary Washington, uninsured patients already receive an across-the-board discount of 30%, said Lisa Henry, a spokeswoman for Mary Washington Healthcare, the health system for the hospital and another one.

There are mores details in the article, about how nonprofits are basically bogus, but we have talked about that before in this blog. Here is my thoughts on the lawsuit matter. Yes, I believe that if you have a medical bill then you should pay it but with these conditions:

  • It can’t be because the insurance company denied the bill. F#ck them. The hospital needs to go after the insurers, in court, first. Let evil fight evil.
  • It has to be for the SAME amount as the hospitals would be getting paid by the insurers. The 30% discount mentioned above is bullshit. The insurers pay a 70% discount. The same should apply to the uninsured
  • These bills cannot be excessive from “out-of-network” docs used in emergency situations.

Okay, that is all I have for now. Anyone else have something to add? Would love to get a consensus on this.

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