When clients meet with us after a car accident in Atlanta and they disclose that they received their emergency room care at North Fulton Regional or Atlanta Medical Center and they do not have health insurance, we know going in that the bill is going to be staggering. Back in 2009, the Atlanta Journal Constitution ran a study on the markup hospitals apply to cost.
Tenet Healthcare, which runs North Fulton Regional Hospital marks up its prices an average of 702 percent over cost and South Fulton Medical Center (also Tenet) charges an average markup of 618 percent. Keep in mind the fact that health insurers have a negotiated rate so the only members of the public getting hit with this burden are the uninsured.
The big danger here is that the hospital can file a Georgia Medical lien on the accident case and often that bill is larger than the amount of car insurance available. In those extreme instances, we will see lawyers arguing in court with hospitals using these numbers to show that the hospitals bill can be completely arbitrary. If the court sees the drastic markup and the underlying cost, we may see some rulings in favor of the patient and laying out a reasonable profit margin for the patient to be responsible for.
Be sure to read our article on emergency room bills and the disconnect from reality on our primary site.