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Uninsured class action suit dismissed

Posted Jun 27th, 2008 by Patient Assistance Team
Uninsured health care patients who claimed they were discriminated against by insurance companies had their class action suit dismissed by a federal appeals court.

In the suit, lawyers argued that insurance companies gouge uninsured patients and charged unfair prices which, they said, qualify as “unconscionable commercial conduct” under the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act.
Senior U.S. District Judge Dickinson R. Debevoise of the District of New Jersey said that the plaintiff is asking the court to “solve the problems of the American health care system” which is up to the federal and state governments. He added that the court could not possibly come up with a price to charge the uninsured.

The lead plaintiff, Justin DiCarlo (DiCarlo vs. St. Mary’s Hospital), claimed he was admitted to St. Mary’s due to a heart problem and received an EKG and underwent blood tests. Because DiCarlo had no insurance and did not qualify for various medical assistance programs, he agreed to pay all charges and was charged $3,400.

St. Mary's has a “uniform set of charges,” Debevoise found, “that it applies to all patients, without regard to whether the patient is insured, uninsured, or a government program beneficiary.”