SC court examines discounts for uninsured

The South Carolina Supreme Court is considering a case which could result in discounts of 50 percent off of hospital bills for patients billed through 2004. The dispute arises from a state law, since altered, which required hospitals to offer anyone the best rate possible if bills were paid within seven days. The court, which is hearing the case this week, will decide whether uninsured and underinsured patients should get those discounts, or even get money back. Lawyers for the patients want to get the case certified as a class action.

In reality, the dispute is academic for many patients. Since the state law was changed in 2006, hospitals have the right to charge whatever they like from now on. However, the American Hospital Association is recommending to members that they write off bills for uninsured patients with annual incomes 300 percent of the poverty rate, and offer a sliding scale to all other patients.

To learn more about the dispute:
- read this piece from The State

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