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Even during pandemic: Hospitals suing patients for unpaid bills

Millions of Americans have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic. They’re getting sick. They’re losing their jobs.

This has not stopped hospitals from suing patients to recoup unpaid medical bills.

A newsletter from Axios points out that the Americans least likely to be able to pay their medical bills are also the same ones who are most vulnerable to the virus and economic fallout. Despite being located in coronavirus hotspots, almost all of the roughly two dozen Community Health Systems hospitals in Florida, Texas and Arizona have sued patients since the pandemic began. Most had slowed or paused this practice in the spring.

Axios reviewed court records between January 1 and August 14, and found that these hospitals have filed dozens, and in some cases hundreds, of cases per county. The medical bills the lawsuits are seeking to collect range from less than $1,000 to $125,999.53.

The aggressive legal actions by hospitals against their former patients was already  controversial  before the pandemic. Axios points out that this renewed effort to resolve unpaid medical bills through lawsuits is evidence that the health system’s pre-pandemic issues haven’t gone away, and in some ways, they’ve only gotten bigger.

Do you think patients in coronavirus hotspots should be sued for unpaid medical bills? Share your voice.