On March 31, plaintiff Arshad Qureshi, through attorney Joseph Younes, of Chicago, filed suit in Cook County Circuit Court against Alexian Brothers, alleging the health system’s billing policies violated the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act.
Alexian Brothers, also known as Amita Health, operates St. Alexius Medical Center in Hoffman Estates and Alexian Brothers Medical Center in Elk Grove Village, as well as Alexian Brothers Behavioral Health Hospital and Alexian Brothers Women’s and Children’s Hospital, both in Hoffman Estates, and the Alexian Brothers Rehabilitation Hospital in Elk Grove Village. Amita Health also operates immediate care clinics in Addison, Bensenville, Elk Grove Village, Hanover Park, Mt. Prospect, Palatine and Schaumburg, and primary care and occupational health clinics and facilities in those same northwest suburban communities and others.
Qureshi’s complaint did not specify when or where he received health care from physicians or others associated with Alexian Brothers or Amita, nor did it state the precise kinds of services Alexian Brothers administered for him.
However, the complaint said Qureshi was a patient who received care through the Alexian Brothers system at some point when he did not have health insurance. The complaint said when Alexian Brothers billed him for their services, they did so at the full, undiscounted rate, even though he “had no health insurance, a low income and no significant assets.”
Qureshi’s complaint said, should he have “possessed health insurance at the time service was rendered … or been covered by a governmental health insurance such as Medicaid or Medicare,” Alexian Brothers “would have accepted as full reimbursement an amount significantly less than” what it required Qureshi to pay.
Qureshi said he has been unable to pay the bill.
Qureshi’s complaint said he believes there are a large number of other patients, like him, who lacked health insurance when they received treatment from the Alexian Brothers Health System, who were billed more than insurers would have been for the same services provided to someone who was covered under a health insurance plan or government program, and who have been unable to pay their medical bills.
Qureshi asked the court to certify a class including Qureshi and others like him, estimated only to number more than 100, to press a legal action against the Alexian Brothers system, to ask the court to order Alexian Brothers to stop “charging uninsured persons more than it charges the insured.”
The complaint asked the court to award damages including an amount equal to the difference between what Alexian Brothers charged Qureshi and others who lacked health insurance versus what they charged those with insurance for the same services, plus an additional $8,000 each for “stress, inconvenience and aggravation” and punitive damages.