If you are in a motorcycle crash in Denver, do not give the hospital or your doctor the other driver’s auto insurance when you check in. Give them your health insurance. Even if the other guy caused the accident and you hope that he or she has to pay all your bills, do not give the hospital the other driver’s auto insurance information. Two reasons: 1) That is not the way auto insurance works AND, 2) you may end up receiving LESS money from your future settlement.
Why? Because if the hospital knows you were the victim in a motorcycle crash, they know they are likely to make more money off of your care from your settlement against the other driver than they will from your health insurance. So, they will avoid billing until your settlement comes in, hoping to take a big chunk of it for themselves.
Not only is that morally corrupt, but it is also illegal. Sadly, they are still doing this whenever they can get away with it.
Why Illegal Hospital Billing Happens
Hospitals have agreements with health insurance providers that allow them to be paid only a percentage of a full bill, usually .50 or .60 cents on the dollar. Of course, they would like to make much more off of all the procedures they provide motorcycle crash victims, who are often very injured.
Hospital bills after a motorcycle crash can easily rise to many hundreds of thousands of dollars. If the hospital is only allowed to bill your health insurance, they will be paid .50 or .60 cents on the dollar. (They are still making huge profits at that percentage of payment. Don’t get me started on our broken health insurance industry.)
If the hospital knows you were the victim of a motorcycle crash, they would much rather be paid 100% of their bill from your future settlement, rather than the percentage that your health insurance company would pay. But that is like stealing from the victim, who will no doubt need those funds for his or her recovery from the motorcycle crash.
How Does it Work?
If you give the hospital the other driver’s insurance, you are alerting them to the fact that you were a victim. They can’t do anything at all with that insurance information, but once they know you were a victim and you are likely to sue the other driver, they will delay billing you, and then they will put a lien on any settlement that you receive as a result of the accident.
If this sounds outrageous to you, it should. It boils my blood.
They should bill your health insurance company as is standard, rather than trying to weasel their way into your settlement funds. You have health insurance for this exact reason! (If you do not have health insurance, things are more complicated, but there are still ways to protect your settlement. Call me for advice!)
By placing a lien on your future settlement, the hospital is trying to get their full bill paid. However, this ends up costing victims a lot more, and victims usually need every dime from a settlement to address ongoing issues as a result of the accident (loss of job, loss of home, other bills).
The way I see it, the hospitals are refusing to bill the victim’s health insurance and are instead billing the victim.
Even worse, if the victim receives no compensation for the accident (if, for example the at-fault driver had no insurance), the victim may be forced to pay medical bills that their health insurance would have covered.
Colorado Made this Practice Illegal
In the past, so many hospitals were employing this greedy billing tactic that the state of Colorado made it illegal. Now, according to Senate Bill 15-265, hospitals must bill a victim’s health insurance upon providing service.
Does that mean hospitals shaped up and stopped this sneaky billing practice? Of course not. I continue to see it and fight it on behalf of my motorcycle clients. There is absolutely no reason that crash victims who have perfectly good health insurance coverage should have to share their settlement with hospitals.
Don’t Trust Hospital Intake Specialists
You know when you check into the hospital and someone rolls a computer into your room, asking all kinds of questions about how you got hurt and how you’ll pay for services? That person is trained to find out if you may be seeking a future settlement from an accident. When this person finds out you were in a motorcycle crash, they may say, “Oh, that’s terrible! You shouldn’t have to pay for this. You were the victim. Give us the other driver’s insurance information and we will bill them instead.”
Don’t fall for it. Give them your health insurance card and say these words: “You must bill my health insurance company for the care that you provide to me.” Upon hearing those words, the hospital is legally required to bill your health insurance for your treatments.
This is just one more example of why motorcycle crash victims need a good local motorcycle attorney. Most victims have no idea how to negotiate these treacherous waters and they may have no idea that their hospital bills aren’t even being paid! I’ve seen people whose credit scores have plummeted because they had no idea until too late that hospitals were toying with their payment processes.
If you have any questions at all, or if you’ve been in a recent motorcycle crash and have a question about the billing process, please contact us: (877) 562-9425