OMAHA, Nebraska. Have you been hurt in a car accident? Are you starting to receive medical bills in the mail? Medical bills following a car accident can leave victims and their families with tens of thousands (and in some cases, hundreds of thousands of dollars) of debt. Even individuals with medical insurance might find themselves facing high medical bills.
The New York Times recently reported on the fact that even patients with health insurance have been facing surprise bills in the tens of thousands of dollars. When insurance companies don’t pay a patient’s full medical expenses, hospitals will often send patients a balance bill. Insurance companies will often negotiate with hospitals regarding what to pay. Generally, insurance companies use a formula based on Medicare’s formulas for services. However, hospitals generally charge private insurance patients differently than Medicare patients. When insurance companies and hospitals cannot agree on what to pay, hospitals will sometimes pass the costs on to patients.
Balance billing occurs when an insurance company determines that a hospital’s bill is higher than the services should cost, on average. When patients are taken to out-of-network emergency rooms (and often patients following a car accident don’t have a choice) they are often at the mercy of the charges that the hospital decides to levy. The practice is quite common, with Vox reporting that as many as one in five car accident victims might find themselves facing “surprise” balance bills.
Currently there are no national laws preventing balance billing and few states have protections against balance billing. The fact that there aren’t clear standards for what hospitals should charge patients for services complicates matters. Patients themselves may not know how much their bills should be. After all, who knows how much it should cost to set a broken arm or have a CT scan performed?
So, what can patients do to fight back? The New York Times reports that patients can sometimes take the balance bill to court—and they can sometimes win. If the cost of care exceeds the average price for services, patients can sometimes successfully have the bills reduced to reflect average costs. Many more patients are seeking the assistance of lawyers to help them fight these kinds of medical bills.
Another thing patients can do is to seek damages from negligent parties after a car accident. Insurance companies may be responsible for helping pay for your medical expenses up to your bodily injury limits. The responsible party after a car accident may also be accountable for helping you pay your medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
If you’ve been hurt in a car accident and are facing medical bills, you may wonder what your next steps should be. Reach out to Rensch & Rensch Law, personal injury lawyers in Omaha, Nebraska today to learn more about your options and rights. Our firm can fight balance bills, speak to insurance adjusters, and fight for your rights either inside or outside of court. Visit us at https://www.renschandrensch.com/ to learn more today.
Rensch & Rensch Law
7602 Pacific Street,
Omaha, NE 68114