If you've been hurt in an accident, even the most basic of automobile insurance policies will cover you for the vast share of any medical expenses. If you have your own health insurance coverage, you may be wondering who pays for your medical expenses and how it affects your own coverage and any personal injury case. Read on to learn more about the effect of health insurance the actions of your provider on personal injury claims.
You Heath Care Provider Has an Interest
Once you get medical treatment for an accident, your provider will take a more interest in just the state of your health. Managed care and medical care provided to the uninsured have created a decline in revenue for most healthcare providers, so when word of a potential way to gain more revenue comes, they take an interest.
In many cases, the provider of the medical care is eligible to seek direct reimbursement of any care provided to an accident victim. Since many times the provider has an agreement with insurance carriers to accept a reduced amount in return for being placed on list of preferred providers by the carrier, the potential to gain a greater share of financial return on a given patient is increased. There are no set prices on care given to accident victims, and if you've noted the amount charged for even minor medical treatment, you can only imagine how much more the provider stands to gain by seeking reimbursement from the at-fault driver's insurance carrier instead of going through the HMO or other managed care plans.
Why Is This a Problem?
This may seem like a fine way of doing things, but what if the insurance company fails to pay? If your case is disputed and you are heading for a trial, you may find yourself on the wrong end of a the financial stick. Not only that, but providers often take this a step further and file a lien.
Understanding the Lien Process
Once the provider becomes aware that a third party can be billed for your medical care, they work quickly to secure their share of the settlement or judgment. This is by way of a lien, which is a way of freezing a portion of your accident settlement winnings. This means that the provider has a court order to be paid their portion of your settlement before you are paid. Since this amount can be whatever they want to charge you, it may eat up a good amount of your compensation.
Avoiding the Lien Process
Be very careful what you sign and the information you provide to your health care provider. They may ask you to sign an assignment of benefits form, that essentially gives them the right to makes claims directly with the insurance carrier. Speak to your personal injury attorney as soon as possible and do not sign or agree to anything with your provider without checking first with your attorney.