It is a nightmare when a loved one gets sick or injured and has to be rushed to the hospital for emergency care and a possible prolonged hospital stay. Of course, you aren’t thinking of the costs of medical treatment at the time – but many times after a person has recovered and returns home, families are finding that’s when the real nightmare begins.
They get the bill.
An article that recently appeared in the Los Angeles Times features parents who had to take their toddler son to the hospital for treatment and later received a bill for $8,900. Since they had an insurance deductible of $10,000, they naturally began scrutinizing every charge on the bill. They ran into an $839.25 charge from a medical group they had never even heard about.
When they called to inquire about it, they didn’t receive any answers, but did receive threats if the bill wasn’t paid
Unfortunately, this isn’t surprising, according to Pat Palmer, founder of Billing Advocates of America. “We get feedback from consumers saying that providers are telling them ‘We can’t give you an itemized statement’ or ‘You should have asked before you left the hospital.’”
Don’t let medical care providers bully you. You do have rights. Most states have laws that entitle patients to an itemized medical bill that clearly outlines costs for supplies and services. The billing department must give you one if you demand it.
In California, a law was enacted in 2006 that limits how much an uninsured person can be charged by a hospital. Depending on a patient’s financial situation, the law limits the amount a hospital can charge compared to what Medicare or other public programs would charge.
Since unpaid, disputed medical bills can be sent to collection agencies, which will adversely affect a patient’s credit rating, it is important that people know their legal rights and what they need to do to resolve a disagreement.
If you are hitting a brick wall when dealing with a medical provider, it may be necessary for you to take action by getting an experienced legal advocate who knows and understands insurance and medical billing law. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Reneé J. Nordstrand are ready to help you and your family.
Call our Santa Barbara office at (805) 962-2022 or our Encino office at (818) 981-3530 to learn about your legal options. We want to help