Medical providers are often the forgotten victims in a personal injury accident. Although they may not be physically harmed, they often suffer financially when bills go unpaid. With 79 million Americans having problems with debt or medical bills, medical providers may find themselves in a difficult situation when getting reimbursed if they do not take the proper precautions. This can be resolved by following three simple tips:
1. Collect Insurance Information at Intake
A medical provider’s first step to protect their bill is to ensure you collect from an insurance company, either the at-fault party or a first-party carrier. It is easier and faster to seek reimbursement from an insurance company than from an individual because the insurance company will typically have a contractual obligation to pay and, because of their reputation, are more likely to resolve the issue than create a bad name for themselves to the public. Collecting the at-fault’s insurance information and/or the patient’s insurance information at intake (name and policy number) will help medical providers get paid quickly while avoiding potential legal issues or costly collection actions against their patients. If a medical provider fails to collect insurance information, they are opening themselves up to the risk of not being paid, which can result in a long and challenging process where strain can be placed on the provider-patient relationship – this could also adversely affect future business or referrals.
2. Ensure the Injured Patient has Retained a Lawyer
All attorneys are ethically obligated to protect known medical bills in a personal injury case due to a personal injury accident. If not, they can face severe legal and ethical penalties. This adds a layer of protection for the medical provider’s charges in that it is not left to the injured patient to decide whether to pay the bill. Injured patients often have a lot on their plate and may be unable to keep up with their financial obligations creating a tempting decision to keep the medical provider’s money instead of paying the bill. Making sure the injured party has a lawyer will help take some of the burdens off of the patient and increase the chances that the medical provider’s bill will be paid.
3. Use State Laws to Your Advantage
In addition to the lawyer’s ethical obligation to protect a medical provider’s bill, ensure you are protected using the laws in your respective state. Confirm whether your state has a medical lien law you can use to notify the public, the insurance company, or another lawyer (if the patient changes attorneys) of your rights against any settlement in a personal injury action. This will give you an added level of protection and further increase the chance that you will be reimbursed for your medical bills because everyone will be on notice of your medical lien. Furthermore, these medical lien laws typically have additional protections for medical lienholders.
Medical providers play a vital role in our society and should be compensated for their services. Unfortunately, this is not always the reality. By following these three simple tips, medical providers can increase their chances of getting paid and avoid potential legal issues. If you are still seeking help navigating medical lien funding, contact Richard Cruz, President, and General Counsel at National Health Finance, today. NHF has over 20 years of experience in the medical lien world. Our team can help you navigate personal injury medical liens by helping you obtain cash flow for your business while focusing on treating injured patients.
Not legal advice: Nothing in this article should be considered legal advice. This article is for education and information purposes only. You should seek appropriate counsel for your own situation.