Greenpointers has received several tips from readers who say that they are getting billed for a COVID test that they initially believed to be free.
Altru Chemists (987 Manhattan Ave.) partnered with MedBar, a mobile healthcare provider, to provide free testing in late 2020 and early 2021, though they were dissatisfied with the service and ended the partnership in March 2021. Over a year later, some customers noticed an extra charge on their bills. Many folks have said that Medbar was unresponsive to their inquiries about the charges.
Below is a full statement from Altru Chemists:
Some of our customers received an email earlier this month from MedBar regarding a possible “outstanding balance” due for COVID-19 testing services that were performed at our facility between the Fall of 2020 and Spring of 2021.
While we can’t provide full details due to ongoing legal inquiries between us and Med Bar, we want to provide some facts to help you and our community navigate how best to address these MedBar inquiries:
Altru Chemists terminated our partnership with MedBar early in March 2021. We didn’t like how Medbar operated and provided customer care to our patients. Since then, we have performed PCR testing at no cost with no hidden disclosures or balance billing to our patients.
Please let your readers know that they should not feel discouraged from using our pharmacy for future COVID-19 testing needs.
Altru Chemists’ sole responsibility during our work relationship with MedBar was to perform swab collection. We were not and are not responsible for any billing or money recoupment. While we empathize with the patients and understand this may have come as an unforeseen surprise, it is not something we have control over. Patients can reach out to MedBar or their insurance with billing inquiries. If they have any questions for us here at the pharmacy, they can call us or visit us.
Customers around the city have shared similar experiences on Google Reviews. Some have contacted the state Attorney General’s office, as they were billed before they could even get in contact with MedBar to dispute the charges.
MedBar did not return Greenpointers’ multiple requests for comment.