Healthcare News & Insights

Balance billing triggers lawsuit; class-action status sought

Washington University is being sued by a patient over accusations it routinely and illegally over-billed for services.

The lawsuit against the St. Louis-based school seeks class-action status, and claims that thousands of patients with health insurance were over-charged due to so-called balance billing.

The suit claims balance billing  — in which  a health care provider bills the patient directly for the difference between what a health insurance carrier is willing to pay and the total amount charged by a hospital, doctor’s office or laboratory — violates state laws aimed at ending deceptive practices and consumer fraud.

The suit requests actual and punitive damages.

According to the plaintiff, Washington University charges unjustifiably high prices to patients for out-of-network care, which may not be fully covered by their insurance policies.

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