Keep your medical bills from going to collections

If you were involved in a car accident in Glenview, or anywhere in Illinois, Keep your medical bills from going to collections you may have suffered injuries. If you did, you need to keep your medical bills from going to collections until the case settles. If you would like to speak with a car accident attorney about this matter, call me today at 847-305-4105.

Using Your Health Insurance to Pay Medical Bills

Health Insurance is the Best Way to get Your Medical Bills Paid

As I’ve discussed in other blog articles, the best way to pay your medical bills after a car accident is by using your health insurance. But this is not full proof. Health insurance companies will try to avoid paying for your medical bills if they can. And if they do pay, they will expect to be reimbursed out of the proceeds of your settlement.

I recently received a call from a Glenview resident who was injured when a car ran over his foot. He went to the emergency room after the accident and gave the hospital his health insurance information. He thought the matter was resolved. Six months later, he was advised that his bills were being denied because he “lied” on his health insurance application about being a smoker.

Health insurance companies are like any insurance company – they will utilize whatever methods they have to avoid paying your medical bills.

Even if you use your health insurance, you will be responsible for paying your co-pays and your deductible. And if you don’t pay them, those medical bills will go to collections.

Keep Your Medical Bills from Going to Collections

Co-Pays and Deductibles

So, how do you keep your medical bills from going to collections? The most obvious answer is to pay them. For many people this is not easy however. Not everyone can afford to pay the huge deductibles that come with health insurance today.

Co-pays too are increasing. In 2018, I personally had no co-pays and zero co-insurance. Now in 2019, I have a co-pay every time I visit my doctor and co-insurance of as much as 30 percent.

Ignoring the Bills is NOT a Strategy

First and foremost, never, ever, allow the bills to pile up on your counter or your desk. Ignoring them is a sure-fire way to ensure that your bills end up in collections.

Instead, take the initiative. Contact your medical provider’s billing department. When you call, the billing department will verify who you are by asking for your:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Social Security Number
  • Account Number

You can then explain your situation and ask for advice how to proceed. Occasionally, you will run across a biller who does not care about your situation. These people receive calls all day from car accident victims, attorney’s offices and other people who have piles of medical bills and need help. However, most of the time, the medical provider will work with you to get your bills paid.

How Do You Pay These Bills?

Medpay: First, you may have med-pay insurance. Med-pay or medical payments coverage is available through your auto insurance policy and it is a great option for paying these bills. The nice thing is that medpay is available regardless of fault and there is no deductible. However, if you recover from the third party for your damages, you may have to pay your auto insurance company back.

Payment Plan: Almost all medical providers I have dealt with understand that most people cannot afford to pay their medical bills personally after an accident and that they want to keep their medical bills from going to collections. As such, you may be able to enter into a payment plan with the provider where you pay a nominal amount of your bill monthly until your case settles.

Credit Card: We are a credit card based society but people generally understand that using your credit card is a costly way of paying your medical bills. If you “finance” your $2,500.00 medical bill on your credit, you will end up paying much more for it due to interest on the “loan.” However, it’s better than having your credit ruined because you didn’t pay the bill at all.

Medical Liens: Some medical providers will allow you to sign a “lien” which is basically a promise to pay the provider back out of the proceeds of the settlement. This will keep the bill from going to collections and will give you time to resolve your case and pay your bill.

Note that if you are not in Illinois and in a no-fault state, the rules apply differently and you should consult a car accident attorney familiar with your state’s no-fault laws.

Why should you care about collections

First and foremost, it is critical to keep your medical bills from going to collections. If you don’t pay your medical bills, they can and will go to collections. Having an outstanding debt like that can affect your credit report. And they could affect your credit for seven years just like any debt. This is unfortunate when in most cases, this could have been avoided with a phone call.

Of course, there are practical ramifications to having a bad credit score. Try getting a mortgage with a bad credit score, or buying a new car or getting a new credit card. If you can get the loan with a bad credit score, you will pay a significantly higher interest rate which could cost you thousands of dollars.

Bankruptcy due to Medical Bills

Your bills going to collections is bad, but in this country there is an even worse fate and that is having to file for bankruptcy as a result of medical bills.

Medical bill debt is one of many reasons why people file for bankruptcy. When you file for bankruptcy, your medical debt can be eliminated the same as other unsecured debt.

This should be a last resort however. You do not want to file bankruptcy if you can avoid it. And again, your attorney can help you avoid such a drastic outcome simply by contacting your medical providers.

If you are suffering as a result of a lot of medical bills as a result of having been in an auto accident, feel free to reach out to me at 847-305-4105 for a free consultation.

How Much Money Will You Net From a Personal Injury Settlement?

Clients are often surprised at the conclusion of their case regarding how How much money will you net from your personal injury settlementmuch money they will net from their personal injury settlement. In this blog post you will learn how a personal injury settlement actually works and how much you can expect to walk away with. If you have any questions about this topic, please feel free to contact attorney Barry Zlotowicz at 847-305-4105.

Pieces of a personal injury settlement

When the insurance company makes you an offer to compensate you, all aspects of your case are (usually) encompassed in that offer (aside from property damage). Meaning that if you were offered $100,000 by Geico or State Farm to settle your case, that money is intended to compensate you for everything, including:

  • Medical bills
  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost wages
  • Health insurance lien
  • Medpay lien
  • Anything else

In addition, if you retained an attorney, the law firm’s attorneys’ fees and costs will come out of the $100,000 as well. Consequently, accident victims can be surprised as to what they will net at the end of their case.

So, how might your case look upon completion? If you look below, you will see the breakdown of a personal injury settlement I resolved and how a “settlement statement” (accounting of the costs of your case) might look:

SETTLEMENT  STATEMENT

Client: John Smith

State Farm Insurance Claim No.: 123456789

Date of Accident: June 1, 2010

TOTAL SETTLEMENT $100,000.00
DEDUCTIONS
Attorney Fees (33.3%) $33,333.33
File Expenses $645.00
Federal Express $25.00
ATI Physical Therapy $1,250.00*
Illinois Bone & Joint $7,400.00**
Open MRI $1,500.00
Geico Insurance Medpay lien $1,333.33
Blue Cross Blue Shield Insurance $7,000.00
TOTAL DEDUCTIONS $52,486.00

*Amount negotiated by Chicago Legal Group down from $2,500.00

**Amount negotiated by Chicago Legal Group down from $9,900.00

AMOUNT OF SETTLEMENT CHECK TO CLIENT: $47,513.34

As you can see, after you take out medical bills, liens, the health insurance lien and attorneys’ fees, the client’s net recovery is significantly less than the actual gross settlement amount.

Often the net amount is significantly less than what is showed here. In the above example, the victim’s medical bills were extremely small. Often the bills are much higher and as such, subtract much more from the potential settlement amount.

Also, there are many other expenses that could be deducted/owed out of the settlement proceeds including child support liens, money paid from a disability insurance policy, and more.

Bottom line is that trying to tie up the loose ends of a personal injury settlement can be confusing. Many people want to handle claims like these on their own or “pro se.” That is an option. But to be assured that all ends are tied, I strongly consider speaking to an attorney at 847-305-4105.

Mount Prospect Attorney – Co-pays after an auto accident

Co-pays after an auto accident
If you were injured in the village of Mount Prospect or anywhere in the state of Illinois, you may wonder whether you can recover for your co-pays after an auto accident. You can. But not how you might think. For a free consultation on this or any other topic, call Mount Prospect attorney Barry Zlotowicz for a free consultation at 847-305-4105.

Co-pays after an auto accident

If you were injured in an auto accident or any other type of personal injury accident, you probably sought medical care shortly thereafter. Perhaps you went to the emergency room or a local urgent care. After your medical care is completed, you will begin to receive medical bills for the treatment.

The auto insurance company for the driver who hit you will NOT pay your medical bills until your case is resolved. However, your health insurance may pay for the bills. You may have to pay your health insurance back out of the proceeds of your settlement.

If you do use your health insurance to pay your medical bills, you will likely have co-pays, co-insurance and/or a deductible that must be paid before your health insurance kicks in. That does not change after an auto accident.

If you receive a bill for a co-pay you must pay it. Otherwise, the bill could go to collections. If you are attempting to obtain follow-up care, for example, with your primary care physician, or more significantly, if you are attending physical therapy, you will have to pay your co-pay on every visit.

That can be costly. I’ve had more than one client who did not pursue additional medical care because she/he could not afford the co-pays.

The same applies for your deductible. Let’s say hypothetically that you have a deductible of $2,500. If you go to the emergency room and your bill is $5,000, you will get a bill for $2,500. If you don’t pay that bill, it may very well go to collections.

People often ask if they will recover for the co-pays after an auto accident. Yes, you will, but not how you think. After you are done treating, your Mount Prospect attorney will demand that the defendant driver’s auto insurance company reimburse your for ALL of your medical bills – not just your deductible.

Your co-pay is just a fixed part/portion of an entire medical bill. As such, you will not receive reimbursement specifically for the co-pay. Rather, you will seek reimbursement for your entire bill.

Auto accident settlement example

This is frustrating to some people because the settlement offer the auto insurance company makes you is intended to compensate you for your pain and suffering as well as pay for your medical bills.

For example, if you have medical bills of $3,000 and the insurance company offers you $10,000 to settle your case, the $3k in medical bills are included in the $10,000 offer. Often accident victims think that the $10,000 all goes to them. It does not. By the way, if you have attorneys’ fees, those come out of the settlement amount as well.

So, Yes, you will recover for your co-pays

Regardless how you get compensated, you will receive reimbursement for your medical bill co-pays and your deductible. It may just not be when you want it or you need it.

There are other options to pay your medical bills. Those can be found in my blog article on this topic. But in some they include obtaining medical service on lien or using your medpay insurance in your auto insurance policy.

If you have any additional questions about obtaining reimbursement for your co-pays after an auto accident, feel free to reach out to Mount Prospect attorney Barry Zlotowicz at 847-305-4105.