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Hospitals Settle Class Action With Discount

ST. LOUIS (CN) - BJC Healthcare said it will provide a 25 percent discount to all hospital patients without insurance to settle a class-action lawsuit. Uninsured patients treated at a BJC Hospital since Jan. 1, 1999 may be eligible for a partial refund or bill reduction, and the discounts will last until at least 2012, court papers state.

Class members will be notified through the mail. Pending a judge's final approval, the settlement will become effective in September.

The discount settles lawsuits from insured patients who claimed they were charged up to three times as much for medical services as patients with insurance.

BJC is one of the largest health-care providers in the area, with 13 hospitals and $2.8 billion in annual revenue.

It is not clear how much the settlement will cost BJC.

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