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A San Diego Superior Court judge has granted class-action status to a lawsuit accusing Scripps Health hospitals of overcharging uninsured patients.

The suit alleges that uninsured Scripps patients pay as much as four times more than patients covered by Medicare or private insurance for the same procedures.

Judge Steven Denton made the class-action designation.

The suit seeks refunds that may exceed $100 million for 100,000 uninsured patients who allege they were overcharged by Scripps' five San Diego hospitals since 2002.

The suit also seeks penalties.

Scripps spokesman Don Stanziano said the company strongly objects to the accusations.

"Scripps is proud of our service to the community," Stanziano said.


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