Posted by: Kisling, Nestico & Redick, LLC
You have to go to the hospital after a severe car accident; it’s not a choice. Not only is this important to your health and safety, but it also provides a record of your injuries in case you decide to sue later on. While you are in the hospital, you expect and deserve excellent care. Most of the time, that’s what patients get.
But there is a scary trend happening all over the country. According to a recent article in The New York Times, many hospitals are not billing patients’ insurance when they have it. Instead, they are billing people directly and placing liens on their car accident settlement — the money injury victims need.
To learn more about this serious problem and how you can avoid it, read on and contact a trusted auto accident attorney at Kisling, Nestico & Redick.
Some Hospitals Are Not Billing Insurance
Hospitals are taking advantage of their patients by taking their settlement money instead of billing their health insurance. They are doing this to boost their bottom line with no regard for the effects this has on car crash victims as they are trying to get their lives back.
Outdated Lien Laws
The New York Times reported that wealthy hospitals across the United States have resorted to outdated laws that allow them to place a lien on the patient’s car accident settlement rather than billing their insurance. This works particularly well for hospitals when the patient has Medicaid because they can place the lien for the full amount of the medical bills rather than billing insurance for the heavily discounted rate.
Here is how the Times put it:
“By using liens — a claim on an asset, such as a home or a settlement payment, to make sure someone repays a debt — hospitals can collect on money that otherwise would have gone to the patient to compensate for pain and suffering.”
States passed laws that allowed hospitals to place liens on injury settlements when fewer than 10% of Americans had health insurance. Now that most people have insurance, hospitals are taking advantage of these laws and their patients to increase their revenue. The effect on car accident victims’ lives is tragic and unacceptable.
Ohio Does Not Have the Same Lien Laws
Ohio is one of only a handful of U.S. states that does not have a law that explicitly permits hospitals to place liens on patients’ settlements. That is good news for Ohio car accident victims, but hospitals can still bypass your health insurance to recover your medical bills.
The absence of a law that permits an action does not mean that a hospital cannot or will not try to place a lien on a settlement or other asset you own. And that is only one of many tactics hospitals can use against patients.
An Attorney Can Protect You From These Tactics
The above is not meant to scare you, but it should reinforce that it is crucial to contact a lawyer as soon as you can after your accident. Sadly, car accident victims are prime targets for auto insurers, healthcare providers, and others who want to take advantage.
A big part of your Ohio car accident attorney’s job will be to protect you from dishonest tactics that could harm you. This is important when you are negotiating with your insurer for a car accident settlement when you are fighting for what you deserve in court, and, as The New York Times has made clear, even when you are in the hospital.
Contact Kisling, Nestico & Redick Today
If you have been injured in a car accident because someone else was negligent, you deserve compensation. And you deserve the full amount of your settlement — not less just because a hospital doesn’t want to go through your health insurance.
At Kisling, Nestico & Redick, we take it personally when anyone tries to withhold compensation that our clients deserve. And we fight hard to make sure our clients get every dollar.