Hospital wants employees to pay tax bill from $4M settlement

N.C. Baptist Hospital wants current and former employees and their families profiting from a federal class-action lawsuit against Baptist to pay the hospital's tax bill for the $4.07 million settlement, the Winston-Salem Journal reported.

A judge approved a final settlement of $5.38 million on Feb. 24, with about $4.07 million left after all attorney fees are paid. The January 2009 lawsuit claimed Baptist Hospital and certain affiliates' group health plans required employees to pay more in fees for health benefits than other corporate clients, the Winston-Salem Journal reported last month.

Baptist has denied wrongdoing and said providing employees with a better healthcare plan warranted the higher fees.

The roughly 15,000 class-action participants should receive their settlement money by April 24, although Baptist's request to subtract its tax liabilities from the net profits owed to them could postpone when they get paid, noted the Winston-Salem Journal.

Attorneys for the class-action lawsuit will respond to Baptist's request by March 23, according to the article.

Meanwhile, it seems high health insurance costs for hospital employees is the norm. A September 2011 report from Thomson Reuters showed that hospital employees have 10 percent higher healthcare costs than the general population. In fact, the average annual healthcare cost for a hospital employee and his or her dependents was $4,662, outpacing the general population by $538.

To learn more:
- read the Winston-Salem Journal article
- here's the February Journal article
- read the Thomson Reuters press release

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