How To Avoid Unexpected Medical Bills After A Collision

dreamstime_xs_55797100My health insurance company isn’t paying?!

Getting crashed into is a bad enough experience — made worse if  you can get slammed with enormous medical bills for your treatment. Our new clients often come to Berenson Injury Law with a small stack of past due statements and letters from bill collectors. Bills can sometimes reach hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Problems arise when your health insurance company doesn’t cover all of these bills. This is a difficult problem for personal injury lawyers to contend with. What can you do to protect yourself?

Look at your insurance policy

Start here. But the policy is filled with legalese, making it very difficult for you to know what it even says. Here are a few terms you should know:

  • In network provider is a doctor, hospital or other health care professional or facility that has a contract for negotiated rates with your insurance company.
  • Out of network provider is not contracted to pay special rates and may charge you more or not be covered by your policy.
  • Copay is the amount you pay for doctor’s visits.
  • Deductible is the amount you have to pay each year before your insurance begins paying bills.

Bring in your policy or we can get it for you and explain how this all works.

Do some research

For non-emergency appointments and procedures, research which doctors and hospitals are in your network. Remember that your hospital may be in your network, but the secondary emergency room, radiologist, anesthesiologist or surgeon may not be. So talk to both your insurance agent and these medical providers and make sure.

You may not be able to have all of your medical needs met by in network providers. In this case, ask specifically how much money you should expect to owe. You may also be able to negotiate for a more reasonable rate or payment plan.

Be prepared for emergency treatment 

You certainly don’t plan to wreck your car and so may not have an opportunity to research your treatment options. You need help right away, and may be too far from an in network hospital or may be unsure which hospital is covered. In a serious crash, you may be unconscious or your injuries may be life threatening.

When I was in Boy Scouts, they drilled this motto into us: be prepared.  It’s a good one. You don’t want to be taken by surprise. Put an emergency treatment plan in place. Have a readily accessible list of hospitals that are in network so you can make a quick decision about where to go when you need help. Understand your policy coverage and question discrepancies.

If the hospital is not in network, even more problems can arise.  But balance billing for emergency care may soon, hopefully, be a thing of the past. The Texas legislature is considering balance billing laws that protect patients from unfair billing practices.

Currently hospitals must offer payment plans to patients and make an attempt to negotiate disputed charges.

Hire A Good Personal Injury Lawyer

We aggressively seek reduction in bills, negotiate payment plans and demand that the insurance companies and medical providers follow Texas laws. We also help you file on other applicable policies, then make the at-fault driver’s policy pay you for your damages. A good Fort Worth car accident lawyer can help you understand this process.

Please contact us by phone or email if you need help with your car or truck collision case.

 

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