Medical billing company refunds Coloradans after sending confusing and deceptive letters
Jan. 17, 2023 (DENVER) – Attorney General Phil Weiser today announced that Flatirons, a Colorado-based medical billing company, refunded about 40 Coloradans after sending deceptive billing notices that stated they were “not a bill” but expected consumers to pay.
The company sent the bills on behalf of surgical assistants who were not covered by patients’ insurance.
“Facing illness or injury is a heavy burden, and Flatirons’ deceptive practices heightened that stress for people at a vulnerable time when they were struggling with a potentially life-threatening illness,” Weiser said. “Today’s settlement makes plain that such unfair and harmful practices are illegal and that those who harm consumers will be held accountable.”
An investigation by the Consumer Protection Section of the Colorado Department of Law found that from December 2018 through around October 2019, Flatirons sent confusing billing statements to patients who had received treatment from out-of-network surgical assistants. The letters often contained language like “This Is Not A Bill However We Need Your Assistance!! Please Call Your Insurance And Request This Claim Be Processed In-network Per State Mandate.” These statements caused some patients to think there was an issue with their insurance when, in fact, the surgical assistant was outside their network and requesting a separate fee.
These statements left patients confused and even distraught about their obligation to pay and how to resolve the apparent billing issue. Some patients spent months trying to sort out whether and how much money they owed to the surgical assistants, taking considerable time and causing emotional distress in the process.
Around 40 patients made a payment on the misleading bills. In the settlement, Flatirons agreed to refund them what they paid – a total of $12,933.89 – within 30 days of the settlement’s signing date.
If you or someone you know believes they are being taken advantage of or are the victim of fraud, file a report at stopfraudcolorado.gov or call 800-222-4444.
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