Supreme Court Declines Case; Hospital Must Disclose Insurance Discounts

Oct 10, 2016

Credit Presidencia de la República Mexicana / https://www.flickr.com/photos/presidenciamx/

The Indiana Supreme Court has declined to take up a case that questioned whether an uninsured Fort Wayne man was entitled to information about hospital rates for other, insured patients.

In 2013, uninsured Goshen resident Thomas Frost stayed at Parkview Hospital in Fort Wayne for weeks after being seriously injured in a 2013 motorcycle accident. After Frost was discharged, Parkview said he owed nearly $630 thousand in hospital fees.

Indiana law says a resident can dispute the reasonableness of hospital rates in court, which is what Frost set out to do after he received his bill. As part of the process, Frost wanted to know the discount rates for insured patients in order to compare.

The hospital argues buying insurance entitles patients to certain discounts and thus the two rates aren’t comparable.

The hospital refused to give Frost the cost for insured patients, but a trial court found Parkview does need to provide the information. In March, an appeals court upheld the trial court’s ruling. Since the state Supreme Court has now declined to take up the case, the appeal’s court ruling stands, meaning hospitals must disclose the rates for insured patients. 

The dispute over discovery is something called an interlocutory appeal—a sort of trial within a trial. Now, the trial court will again take up the case over Frost’s hospital bill with the new discovery rules intact.

Frost’s attorneys and Parkview Hospital declined to comment, citing pending litigation. Parkview’s lawyers could not be reached for comment.