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Negotiating Medical Bills After Settlement: A Step-by-Step Guide

negotiating medical bills after settlement

You’ve just reached a settlement in your personal injury case, and it’s finally time to breathe a sigh of relief. But wait – what about those hefty medical bills that have piled up during the course of your treatment?

You need to understand how medical bills are paid after a settlement and learn strategies for negotiating with health insurance companies to reduce the financial burden. In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of handling medical bills post-settlement and ways to negotiate with insurance companies.

How Medical Bills Are Paid After a Settlement

Your personal injury settlement money is intended to cover various expenses related to your injury, including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Initially, these expenses may be covered by your health insurance, add-on policies for auto insurance coverage, and workers’ compensation coverage.

Once a settlement has been reached, your attorney will receive the funds from the at-fault party or their insurer and hold them in a trust account until all legal obligations have been met. One of the most critical aspects of settling medical bills after a settlement is addressing any existing medical liens placed by healthcare providers or health insurance companies.

A lien gives these parties the right to claim part of your settlement money as reimbursement for their services provided during treatment. Review these liens carefully with your attorney and negotiate reductions if possible.

What if the Liens Are Too Expensive?

Medical lien holders may be willing to negotiate the lien amount, especially if you can show that paying the full amount would create financial hardship for you.

To improve your chances of obtaining a lien reduction, gather documentation supporting your inability to pay the outstanding medical bills, such as proof of income, expenses, and other relevant financial records. Be prepared to present this information during negotiations. Some medical lien holders may be more willing to negotiate than others, so consider consulting an experienced attorney to represent you in your case.

How Can I Negotiate With the Health Insurance Company?

When negotiating with health insurance companies, it’s essential to address key concerns you may have. These concerns may include being billed incorrectly, receiving care unrelated to your accident, facing exorbitant bills for the care provided, or undergoing medically unnecessary procedures.

As you navigate these discussions, ensure you are detail-oriented and precise in presenting your case. Knowledge of your situation and rights will help you effectively advocate for fair treatment and resolution of any issues.

You Were Billed Incorrectly.

Medical bills after settlement can seem overwhelming, but you have the right and ability to negotiate your medical debt if you find errors in billing. Errors can happen for various reasons – from simple clerical mistakes to miscommunication between healthcare providers and insurance companies.

When faced with an incorrect bill, there are three key steps to take:

  1. Identify the error: Carefully review your medical bills and your insurer’s Explanation of Benefits (EOB) statements. Look for discrepancies such as duplicate charges, services not rendered, or incorrect service codes.
  2. Gather documentation: Collect all relevant paperwork like invoices, receipts, EOBs, medical records, and any correspondence with your healthcare provider or insurance company.
  3. Contact the responsible party: Reach out to either your medical provider or insurance company (depending on where the error originated) with a clear explanation of the issue and provide supporting documents as evidence.

Once you have identified the mistake(s), initiating negotiation with your medical provider and insurance company is crucial if necessary. Start by asking for an adjustment or correction on the bill due to the identified error(s), then inquire about payment plan options if you still need assistance paying off adjusted balances remaining on your account after correcting errors.

You Received Care Unrelated to Your Accident.

Thoroughly review your medical records and bills, identifying any charges not associated with the injuries sustained from the accident. Insurance companies and legal professionals will scrutinize these documents when determining an injured person’s compensation.

To negotiate bills for unrelated care, gathering evidence proving that medical care was separate from your personal injury claim is crucial. This can include obtaining a letter from your healthcare provider confirming this information or presenting documentation illustrating the timeline of events surrounding both cases.

Once you have sufficient proof, contact the billing department at each facility where unrelated treatment was received, and explain the situation. Be prepared to provide copies of relevant documentation and request adjustments be made accordingly.

The Bills Are Too High for the Care You Received.

Familiarize yourself with standard medical costs for similar treatments in your area to have a better understanding of what’s reasonable. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if something on your bill doesn’t make sense or seems unnecessary.

Enlisting the help of an experienced personal injury attorney could also prove beneficial in this situation. They’ll have experience working with insurance companies and healthcare providers, which can be helpful when trying to negotiate a reduction in your medical bills.

The Procedures or Treatments Were Medically Unnecessary.

Request an itemized bill from your healthcare provider, as this will enable you to review each charge in detail. Closely examine your medical records and compare them with the bill to identify any discrepancies or instances where a procedure was not needed. Consider enlisting the help of a personal injury lawyer who specializes in negotiating medical bills after settlement.

When preparing to negotiate with your healthcare provider over medically unnecessary treatments or procedures, gather all relevant documentation, such as medical records, expert opinions, and notes on any conversations with your healthcare providers regarding the disputed services.

Reach out to the facility’s billing department where you received care and be prepared to explain why certain treatments were unnecessary based on evidence from your research or consultations with other professionals.

Getting Attorney Assistance

When you’re injured in an accident and pursuing a personal injury case, the last thing you want to deal with is trying to negotiate medical bills on your own. A qualified personal injury attorney will have experience dealing with insurance companies and healthcare providers

They can help identify any errors or discrepancies in billing, evaluate whether treatments were medically necessary, and ultimately work towards reducing your overall medical expenses.

If you’ve been injured in an accident, don’t struggle with medical bills on your own. Contact Pickford Law, a trusted personal injury law firm, for assistance with negotiating your medical expenses. Contact us today to schedule a consultation, and let us help you focus on what truly matters – your recovery.

Author Bio

Shalondra Grandberry Pickford

Shalondra Grandberry Pickford is a highly skilled attorney and the founder of Pickford Law. Her legal practice is committed to representing clients on various legal matters, including social security disability, veterans’ disability, estate planning, and personal injury. With over ten years of experience in law and a license to practice in Tennessee and Arkansas, Shalondra is committed to providing personalized and effective legal representation to each client.

Shalondra received her Juris Doctorate from The University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law and is a member of the Tennessee and Arkansas State Bar Associations. She has received numerous accolades for her work, including the exclusive Rising Stars award from Super Lawyers in 2017 and again in 2022.

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