Judge approves BJC Healthcare setlement

Despite objections from some plaintiffs, who argued that the terms weren't satisfactory, a circuit court judge in St. Louis has approved the class action settlement between BJC Healthcare and uninsured patients. The approval may bring to an end a long, drawn-out conflict that has drawn national attention.

Under the terms of the settlement, BJC had agreed to give a 25 percent discount to all uninsured patients, along with any charity care discounts for which they qualify, as well as giving such patients treated at a BJC hospital since January 1999 a refund or bill reduction on any fees they had paid. It also agreed to give uninsured patients an additional 5 percent discount if they paid their bills within 30 days.

Most members of the class apparently accepted these terms. However, a dissident group of plaintiffs in the case had asked the court to make BJC Healthcare adhere to a different standard, that of offering uninsured patients the lowest rate it had negotiated with an insurer. Despite their protests, the judge approved the settlement as written.

To learn more about this case:
- read this InsideARM piece

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