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Hospitals accused of abusing non-insured

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ORLANDO, Fla., Jul 08, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- An uninsured Orlando man facing a $135,000 bill has sued Florida Hospital for alleged price-gouging and predatory bill-collecting.

The civil action in Orlando's federal district court was one of a half dozen suits filed the same day against a number of hospitals from Florida to New Jersey, the Orlando Sentinel said.

The suits accuse them of violating their tax-exempt status and nonprofit mission by financially abusing people without insurance.

Florida Hospital, one of the region's largest, is accused in its suit of showing preferential treatment for insured patients, shifting higher charges onto the uninsured and often harassing them in collections.

The suit represents Orlando resident Edward Jellison, a disabled roofer who was charged more than $116,600 for an 18-day stay at the hospital in 2002. Medicare or insured patients would have been charged about $14,000 for similar treatment, the suit claims.

Florida Hospital called the lawsuit's claims inaccurate, misleading and without merit.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.


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