03/28/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Massive Uninsured Patients Settlement Approved By Judge

CHICAGO (AP) -- Tens of thousands of uninsured patients might qualify for refunds on payments they made to eight Chicago and suburban hospitals under a settlement in a class-action lawsuit.

Cook County Circuit Judge Sophia Hall approved the settlement Wednesday between patients and Advocate Health Care. The hospitals could refund up to $3.5 million to the uninsured.

Oak Brook-based Advocate is the largest provider of medical care in the Chicago area.

Advocate has sent notices to 170,000 former patients who may qualify for the refunds.

The lawsuit claimed the not-for-profit hospitals overcharged uninsured patients. Attorney Robert Cohen represented the patients, and he says he hopes the settlement can be a model for other hospitals.