Liability Insurance and Hospital Liens
Many people who are injured in car wrecks or other incidents are treated at a hospital emergency room. If your injury may be someone else’s fault, you will probably be asked for liability insurance information. You may get a form in the mail that looks something like this one.
The hospital may tell you that you have to complete this information even though you have health insurance.
We all know hospitals’ charge amounts that are much higher than payments they get from insurers. In 2010 the average full charge bill for hospital nationwide was 3.6 times the hospital’s costs . Most health insurers don’t pay the full charge. They negotiate charges down to something reasonable. Self pay patients, however, may actually have to pay 100% of the bill. That is where liability insurance comes in.
Why does it matter if I give liability insurance information to the hospital?
If the hospital can identify liability insurance that is available to the patient, the hospital may treat you like a self pay patient. This could result in the hospital filing a lien under O.C.G.A. §44-14-470, et seq. Once the hospital has a lien, the liability insurance company will likely insist on paying the hospital before it pays you. And the hospital is likely going to insist on getting paid 100% (or very close to that) of its charges. “Although MVA [motor vehicle accident] volume is typically a small part of a hospital’s gross revenue, these cases can pay up to full charges, resulting in net revenue improvement.”
Hospitals work very hard to get information about liability insurance before an injured person has an attorney, because they know “Once automobile accident patients have legal representation, they usually stop communicating with the hospital on the advice of their legal counsel.”
Why would your attorney advise you not to communicate with the hospital about liability insurance? “In MVA cases, a patient might have legal representation, which could hinder communication and information capture for the hospital business office. Because their purpose is to help the patient, attorneys usually are not motivated to help the hospital.” (Emphasis added.)
What should I do before I give anyone my liability insurance information?
The hospitals that treat our clients are entitled to be paid reasonably for the services they provide. Unfortunately, hospitals frequently use liens as a way to get paid far more than their services are worth. Before you provide any liability insurance information to anyone – even the hospital – you should talk to an attorney. An attorney can make sure medical providers are provided with the information they are legally entitled to while protecting you from unreasonable medical charges.Our attorneys are happy to provide you with a free consultation. To set one up, simply call the phone number or complete the “Need Help” form on the right side of this page.