Can I be charged for a rented medical device if the cost was not on the contract that I signed?

I received a bill for renting a medical device which was extremely, extremely high (2 months, at $790/month), for a post-surgery mechical device for my foot. It has no electricity and does not move, just a small mechanical thing with a few parts to hold my foot in a certain positon. My insurance will only pay for $750 of it (my yearly limit on equipment). Nowhere on the contract which I signed, was stated the rental or other cost of the device. I never saw or knew by other means what the device cost Am I obligated to pay this 2 X 790 – 750 or $850 out of pocket?

Asked on September 6, 2010 under General Practice, Massachusetts

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Two different issues here:

1) If you rented the device, including where your agreement to rent it is shown by your behavior in accepting the device, then you are responsible for paying for it.

2) However, it may be the case where if you were given no notice  of the cost, or it was even possibly suggested by the circumstances and the paperwork that the cost was minimal or was covered by other payments or insurance, that it is fraud to now try to charge you $790/month. A fair or reasonable rental rate is one thing: gauging, when there was no warning as to what the cost would be, is another. Of course, if you choose to dispute this, they might sue you or take collections efforts. You might try to negotiate a settlement with them, based on lack of notice of the price and/or financial hardship, and see if you can't work out paying some lesser amount; given the potential out-of-pocket costs of defending yourself from a lawsuit, and/or impact to your credit rating, it is unlikely that it is worth it to fight this tooth and nail, though only you can make that judgment. You might consult with an attorney (many provide a free initial consultation) to discuss costs and options.


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