OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson says the affiliated Providence and Swedish health care providers have agreed to pay $1.4 million for failing to tell patients that a pathology lab was out-of-network for their insurance.
Ferguson says Providence facilities in Western Washington and Swedish facilities exclusively used a company called CellNetix for the testing, but failed to tell patients when Premera Blue Cross pulled CellNetix from its network from early 2015 to early 2016 over a contract dispute.
More than 6,400 patients faced unexpected charges of as much as $7,000. Many complained — including a Providence doctor, who said he himself faced out-of-network costs when he underwent surgery in 2015.
As part of the settlement announced Thursday, Providence Health & Services and Swedish Health Services agreed to pay $385,000 in restitution to those patients as well as $1 million to the Attorney General’s Office for the costs of the investigation and consumer protection efforts.