What to Do With Your Medical Bills

When you’re injured due to no fault of your own and you have to seek medical treatment, the bills start to add up quickly. Knowing what to do with those bills can get confusing.

Who Pays for My Medical Bills?

If you do things right, the medical bills should be paid out of your lump sum settlement. In most cases, you shouldn’t have your health insurance pay for your medical bills. Definitely don’t send the bills to the at-fault party’s insurance company to pay.

What Should I Do If the Medical Provider is Threatening to Send My Medical Bill to Collections?

You should send what’s called a Letter of Protection. This lets the provider know that they will be paid out of any settlement proceeds and legally obligates you to pay the bill out of the settlement. It “protects” the provider, hence the name. Click on the link for a sample Letter of Protection.

Should I Submit My Medical Bills to My Health Insurance?

This depends. You will be able get a higher settlement amount if you do not have your health insurance company pay your bills because of recent Missouri Supreme Court decisions and the Missouri Legislature’s changes to our state’s tort laws. Under current law, the only thing a jury gets to see is the amount owed – not the amount billed. For example, if you had a medical bill of $10,000, health insurance normally pays around $2,000 and the rest is written off. Thus, the amount owed is $0.00. This means that’s all the jury would see. However, if you don’t have your health insurance pay the bill, the amount owed is $10,000 and the jury would get to see the full amount of the bill.

Something else to consider is your risk tolerance. If your case is weak, then you will want to submit your medical bills to your health insurance, otherwise the medical providers could come after you personally if you lose your case and can’t pay them out of the settlement. However, if your case is strong, then you will likely be able to recover enough through settlement or jury verdict to pay off all providers, an attorney if you have one, and walk away with a good sum for pain and suffering.

Should I Send My Bills to the Negligent Party’s Insurance Company to Pay?

In a word, no. First, never send any bills to the at-fault party’s insurance company to pay. That’s because you want to have the ability to negotiate the medical bills later on so that you will receive more money. Second, for same reason as above, the jury only gets to see the amount owed, so having the insurance company pay the bill actually hurts you in the long run.