Texas hospital files for bankruptcy after $51.4M Aetna loss

Humble (Texas) Surgical Hospital filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Feb. 24, after a judge ordered the hospital to pay Aetna $51.4 million in an out-of-network billing case in December.

In its bankruptcy petition, Humble Surgical Hospital certified it had liabilities of at least $50 million and assets of at least $10 million. The hospital said in its filing that it has between 200 and 999 creditors.

Humble Surgical Hospital's bankruptcy comes after a judge ordered the hospital to pay Hartford, Conn.-based Aetna $51.4 million, including nearly $10 million in interest, in a seven-year-old court battle over the hospital's out-of-network charges.

Aetna sued Humble Surgical Hospital in 2012, alleging the hospital had charged 10-times market rates for out-of-network procedures. The insurance company contended Humble Surgical Hospital offered discounts to out-of-network patients so their fees were similar to in-network patients, but billed Aetna higher rates as an out-of-network provider. The court denied Humble Surgical Hospital's motion to reconsider the judgment earlier this month.

Regarding the hospital filing for bankruptcy, Edward L. Rotherberg, who is representing Humble Surgical Hospital in its bankruptcy case, told the Houston Chronicle the hospital was solvent prior to the judgment in the Aetna case. Mr. Rotherberg said he doesn't anticipate the hospital being able to generate enough revenue to satisfy the judgment.

Anjie Coplin, director of communications for Aetna, told the Houston Chronicle, "Aetna plans to actively participate in the bankruptcy proceeding to ensure that our customers receive payment."

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