With the expiration of no-fault or personal injury protection (PIP) benefits in 2003, confusion has arisen regarding the type(s) of coverage medical service providers can accept when providing treatment and care to individuals injured in a car accident.
Many clinics try to avoid billing people's health insurance company's because insurers re-price the bills at a lower rate (for example, the clinic may charge $100 for a certain knee or ankle brace, but the insurance company will only pay $25 for the same brace). The re-pricing of medical bills by insurers is an issue facing medical clinics and hospitals every day. For this reason, some healthcare providers who treat car accident victims seek to bypass health insurance companies so they can make an extra profit. After providing you care for your injuries without running your insurance, these healthcare providers will then attempt to put a lien on the amount of damages you receive in your personal injury settlement or jury award for the costs of treating you. And you can bet that these hospitals will charge at a top rate ($100 for that knee brace instead of the $25 your insurer would have paid).
Fortunately, healthcare providers cannot do this unless you sign specific paperwork authorizing the hospital or clinic to take payment for medical bills directly from your personal injury settlement or jury award. However, it is not uncommon for healthcare providers to claim that Colorado law prohibits them from treating car accident victims using their health insurance in an attempt to fool you into signing these papers. Not only is this a completely inaccurate statement of Colorado law, it may constitute fraudulent misrepresentation(s) on the part of the hospital or clinic.
In fact, doctors, clinics and hospitals alike must accept your health insurance when providing you medical care, even if your injuries are the result of a car accident. In the event your healthcare provider refuses to do so, then you should seek medical attention elsewhere, if possible, at a location that accepts your insurance.
Although your insurance company will have the right to file a lien on your personal injury settlement or jury award, you need to remember that insurance providers only pay a fraction of what the healthcare providers would charge for the same services without insurance. This means that you will walk away with much more cash in your pocket from your settlement or award by reimbursing your insurance company, as opposed to the hospital or clinic that treated you.
Accordingly, if you want to go home with more (and not less) of your personal injury settlement or jury award, you should always ensure that your health insurance is used to pay for the medical treatment you receive when injured in a car accident. Make sure to read the fine print on any documents your healthcare provider asks you to sign, and never waive your right to have insurance cover your treatment before consulting with a personal injury attorney.
If you or a loved one was injured in a car accident, you should contact a skilled personal injury attorney—like those at the Law Office of Jeremy Rosenthal—who will fight for your rights and get you the damages you deserve. Our attorneys have decades of experience representing personal injury clients in all types of accident cases, and we will diligently review your case, discuss your options with you and negotiate the most favorable settlement for you – or take your case to trial. We are dedicated to you and attaining the compensation you deserve to recover from your accident.
For a free consultation with one of our caring attorneys, call us today at (303) 647-4511, or visit us online.