Pitkin County candidate Shellie Roy stung by lawsuit
ASPEN ” More than seven years have passed since Aspen resident Shellie Roy was nearly killed in a bicycle accident, but the hospital bills keep coming.
Roy, who’s running against incumbent Michael Owsley for the District 3 seat in the Pitkin Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) race, is at odds with a collection agency over an unpaid hospital bill. The standoff has made its way to Pitkin County Court, where Longmont-based BC Services Inc. is suing Roy for $9,125. The suit was made public this week.
BC Services is handling collection efforts for Centura Health and Porter Adventist Hospital in Denver, where Roy underwent a knee-replacement surgery in June 2006.
But Roy, in a telephone interview Wednesday, said the lawsuit in no way reflects her ability to manage money. Instead, she said, the suit is indicative of the hassles tied to dealing with insurance companies and medical services.
“I’m being chased pretty hard,” she said. “And I don’t know how I’m going to fight it.”
Roy has until Nov. 19 to file a formal response to the lawsuit. If she does not, she risks the chance of having a default judgment entered against her. She said she has yet to hire an attorney.
Roy said that before she had her knee replaced, physicians told her the entire procedure would cost approximately $50,000. Instead, the grand total mushroomed to about $78,000, of which Roy said she has paid “$67,000 or $68,000.”
The lawsuit claims that Roy owes a principal of $7,160, along with $1,965 in interest.
Roy said she became fed up with paying thousands dollars more than what she expected to pay.
“They over charged me by $28,000,” she said, “and this is going on all over America. Next time maybe I should run for Congress.”
Roy, a real estate agent at Frias Properties, said she pays for her own health insurance policy. But when she lost her seat on the BOCC in 2004 to Owsley, she also lost her health coverage. When she took out a new policy on her own dime, the insurance carrier would not cover costs associated with her 2001 bicycle accident because it was a pre-existing condition, Roy said.
“I started disputing the bills I was getting,” she said. “It became more about the principle.”
At one time the prognosis looked grim for Roy after she was struck by a car while riding her bicycle along the path that runs between Highway 82 and the Aspen Golf Club. Roy suffered a broken right leg, broken ribs and internal injuries from the Sept. 28, 2001 crash.
“I almost died,” Roy recalled.
Her leg never fully healed, prompting her to get a knee replacement in 2006.
“When I was in Aspen Valley Hospital [after the accident] I was there 13 days and my bill wasn’t as big as it was for Porter [the hospital],” she said.
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