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In absence of express contract, how much is the patient obligated to pay for medical services?

Los Angeles, CA |

Paramedics were called to take a patient, who broke his hip, to a hospital. They said Fire Department does not allow other ambulances to transport emergency patients and called FD ambulance, which did the job that the first ambulance was fully capable of doing.

The problem is that FD ambulance charged at least 3 times more than other ambulances in the neighborhood.

At the same time, all ambulances gladly accept even lower payment from the Medicare patients. Medicare rates are, in fact, so attractive that the federal Anti-Kickback Statute had to prohibit ambulances from offering discounts for referrals of Medicare business.

There was no written contract. Is the patient legally obligated to pay the bill in full, pay the predominant rate or the lowest rate FD ambulance willingly accepts?

Basically, I am asking if there are any rules or guidelines how to determine the fair price of the services.

Attorney Answers 2

  1. You are obligated to pay the full amount. Most of the time, they will negotiate. But if not, they could sue you. If that happens, you might get a judge to agree that the fee is excessive.

  2. Try negotiating with them to reduce the amount you have to pay.

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