On August 24, 2018, after four years of litigation in Florida federal court, a settlement was reached between a class of patients who claim that they were overcharged for emergency radiological services in hospitals owned and operated by defendants JFK Medical Center and HCA Holdings, Inc. According to court documents, the settlement will be valued at around $220 million.
Named plaintiff, Marisela Herrera, originally filed the suit on August 18, 2014. Herrera argued that the defendant hospitals were over-charging patients who hold Florida Personal Injury Protection insurance (“PIP insurance”). Specifically, plaintiffs claim, those who underwent x-rays and CT scans were allegedly charged up to $6,000 for radiological services that typically only cost only a few hundred dollars. Plaintiff alleged that she was charged $6,404 for a brain CT scan, $5,900 for a spine CT scan and $2,222 for a thoracic spine x-ray after a 2013 car accident. The suit compares the plaintiffs’ allegedly inflated bill to the standard South Florida Medicare rate for the procedures: on average, pricing was found to be around $164 for a brain CT scan, $213 for a cervical spine CT, $38 for a thoracic spine x-ray and $51 for a lumbar spine x-ray. Defendant hospitals were accused of violating Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, breach of contract and breach of implied covenants of good faith and fair dealing.
According to the court documents, the $220 million settlement will take the form of discounts on future medical bills for patients with Florida PIP insurance who receive medical services in their emergency departments, lack any secondary insurance or personal injury settlement applicable to those medical services, and who have a remaining balance after their Florida PIP insurance pays the defendant hospital. The discount redemption period will begin on the date of the settlement execution and will run for four years. Additionally, the settlement provides $3 million in attorneys’ fees and costs.
The suit is: Herrera et al. v. JFK Medical Center Ltd. et al., Case No. 8:14-cv-02327, in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida.
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