Hawaii health system urges court to dismiss Kaiser's lawsuit over billing practices

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The Queen's Health Systems is seeking to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Kaiser Foundation Health Plan alleging that the Honolulu-based nonprofit is unfairly billing patients, according to the Star Advertiser.

Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, the insurance arm of Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser Permanente, filed the lawsuit in June after a contract expired on May 30. The expired agreement allowed Kaiser health plan members to access care at Queen's hospitals at in-network rates.

Kaiser aims to ensure health plan members don't receive bills directly from Queen's for costs outside of deductibles and copays and wants a federal judge to require that the health plan pay only the "reasonable value of Queen's emergency serv­ices," the Star Advertiser reported, citing the June complaint.

But, according to the newspaper, Queen's accuses Kaiser of not "accept[ing] its responsibility to pay for the actual costs of services" for patients with complicated medical conditions.

According to Hawaii News Now, out-of-network care provided to patients with Kaiser insurance coverage will result in full charges, since the contract between both sides expired in May.

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