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Texas Supreme Court Considers Whether Hospitals Should Reveal Costs

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As reproduced by Houston Public Media:

Should a hospital be required to reveal costs when a patient says their bill in unreasonable? The Texas Supreme Court is looking at a case involving North Cypress Medical Center, which is fighting an uninsured patient asking for that disclosure.

Crystal Ann Roberts sued North Cypress Medical Center overcharges after a car accident. She was billed slightly over $11,000 for emergency room treatment, reduced to $8,200 after the other driver’s insurer paid some of those costs. Roberts sued after the hospital refused to reduce the bill further.

Seth Chandler, a professor at the University of Houston Law Center said it’s important that pricing data be accessible to both patients and insurers.

“We’re never going to get costs under control if we don’t know what hospitals are, in fact, charging patients.”
Chandler wonders how a patient can prove, for example, that $180 to attach a plastic sensor to your finger is a reasonable and customary charge.

“When you’ve got charges of thousands of dollars for some patients, it’s completely reasonable to know whether that charge is reasonable or whether it’s an outrageous markup, which is often the case, unfortunately.”

North Cypress argues that because Roberts didn’t have private insurance or Medicare or Medicaid, the terms of contracts negotiated with insurance carriers is irrelevant to her claims.

Listen to the oral arguments here:

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