Whether you were involved in an accident resulting in unexpected medical bills or have a chronic condition with ongoing treatments, you have options when negotiating medical bills. Many people make the mistake of thinking that the bill they receive is final and their only option is to repay it.
However, no matter what type of medical bills you face, they are always negotiable. Unfortunately, negotiating your medical bills is a daunting and complicated task that not everyone can handle. Luckily, you can hire a medical billing advocate or a lawyer to assist with medical bill negotiations.
- Can a Lawyer Negotiate Medical Bills?
- Here's How Much Can a Lawyer Negotiate Medical Bills
- Knowing the True Cost of Your Medical Care
- Understanding The Difference Between Medical Bills and Medical Liens
- What Are the Steps to Negotiating Medical Bills?
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Final Thoughts About Lawyers Negotiating Medical Bills
Can a Lawyer Negotiate Medical Bills?
Yes, a lawyer can negotiate your medical bills for you in most cases.
While every state has different rules and regulations about negotiating medical bills, lawyers can typically help in the negotiating process. Aside from medical billing advocates, lawyers are your best chance at negotiating lower medical bills. They will fight on your behalf and work with your insurance company and medical providers to lower your bills to a price that fits your budget.
If you have health insurance, there’s a chance that your health insurance company won’t want to pay your medical bills if someone else is responsible for causing them. For instance, if you were involved in a car accident that wasn’t your fault and that resulted in medical bills, your insurance company might balk at the idea of paying for them and may want to subrogate. However, a lawyer will help to hold them accountable and ensure they don’t take advantage of you.
Here’s How Much Can a Lawyer Negotiate Medical Bills
In most cases, lawyers can help you negotiate your medical bills particularly when legal ramifications are involved. They can negotiate with your medical and health insurance providers to get lower medical bills, mainly by pursuing legal avenues. Lawyers can also deal with other insurance companies if your medical bills resulted from an accident caused by someone else.
However, there are limits on how lawyers can negotiate medical bills on your behalf. In most cases, lawyers can’t intervene unless your medical statements involve a legal matter.
Often, lawyers can negotiate up to 20% or 30% off a medical bill depending on the specifics of your situation. Lawyers have an intimate knowledge of your legal rights regarding medical bills. As such, they will know when you’re being taken advantage of by health insurance or medical providers.
Here are some specific ways a lawyer can help negotiate your medical bills.
- Pursuing compensation from another party if they caused injuries resulting in medical bills.
- Pursue compensation from your employer through workers’ compensation if a workplace accident resulted in medical bills.
- Negotiate with your insurance company to provide more coverage for your medical bills.
- Negotiate a settlement if your medical bills are the result of an injury that wasn’t your fault.
In most cases, lawyers don’t negotiate for lower medical bills. Instead, they pursue legal action and compensation to help you pay medical bills. They also find ways to get at-fault parties, insurance companies, or your medical provider to pay your medical bills.
Knowing the True Cost of Your Medical Care
Depending on where you live, there are several ways in which lawyers can help lower your medical bills. One of the first approaches that is critical is to understand the actual cost of your medical bills. Comparing what was charged with the discounted rates offered to insurance companies and what was paid between copays or deductibles is essential. Instead, look at the fully charged rate before insurance or discounts. Using these rates can often reduce the amount individuals are owed for their bills.
Understanding The Difference Between Medical Bills and Medical Liens
A lien is one of the main ways lawyers can help negotiate your medical bills. If you’re unfamiliar with medical liens, they can get very confusing. Essentially, a medical lien is a right to keep possession of property until the medical debt is discharged. That is for example the right to your vehicle or house placed on a lien until your medical debt is paid off.
Insurance companies can also file to place liens on you for medical debts if mainly it was the result of a subrogation. A lawyer can help manage/sue this lien on your behalf so that you don’t end up losing your house/vehicle.
What Are the Steps to Negotiating Medical Bills?
Getting all of your medical bills paid before they go to collections is vital. Doctors and hospitals will frequently offer discounted rates to avoid working with collection agencies to recoup costs incurred from the medical treatment they provided.
However, if collections agencies are involved, they frequently work through various methods to ensure they collect the debts owed. This can include garnishing your wages, tax liens, or a lien against your home or other property after appropriate legal actions are filed against you.
Step 1. Get an itemized bill
Requesting your invoice from the billing department and reviewing the charges claimed against you is essential. Various estimates suggest that medical bills contain errors about 25% of the time. This can include issues such as billing the incorrect patient, incorrect billing code, or billing for services that were not provided. Experienced lawyers will understand how to adjust, review, and correct itemized bills.
Step 2. Determine Which Charges Are Grossly Inflated
An attorney that has worked on medical billing cases will have an eye for catching issues such as inflated costs.. These costs are frequently things like overcharging for a single pill, saline solutions, or the equipment used for a procedure. The actual price of these items is typically drastically lower than what each patient is being charged. Attorneys that can reduce these bills to their actual cost can quickly eliminate excess medical expenses to get a more realistic estimate. Luckily, an attorney can negotiate those medical bills for you, and it is pretty common to get at least 20% off them.
Step 3. Look for Other Ways to Pay Your Medical Bills
If your existing insurance plan doesn’t cover all of your medical costs, or if you were uninsured during medical care, it may be possible to qualify for different types of insurance retroactively. This is particularly the case with Medicaid working retroactively for 3 months in most states.
Additionally, the federal government requires that nonprofit hospitals create and maintain programs that provide financial assistance for patients who are classified as low-income. The aid varies based on the specific hospital and the state where services were provided.
Step 4. Request to Lower the Bill
Even after you have reduced your bill as much as possible, you should ask to get it lowered. Uninsured patients usually receive the invoice with the highest costs for all of the provided services, not the negotiated rates by insurance companies or other programs. Many hospitals and medical institutions have room to negotiate with patients. Hospitals negotiate so frequently with individuals that many individuals expect to negotiate with patients. The amount you can negotiate off the bill will vary based on several factors. Still, an attorney that works with medical cases can often be very effective in negotiating a lower cost on the bills. In some cases, we have seen our clients get around 66% of their bills reduced.
Step 5. Request a payment plan
Once you have completed the previous steps, you can request a payment plan. Hospitals usually offer this for their patients to help them cover the costs of their medical treatment. It is crucial that before agreeing to the final payment plan, you ensure that you can afford the monthly payments. However, payment plans can help you spread the cost of your care over several months or even years and make covering the costs more manageable.
Step 6. Get help from Health Advocates
Here are some advantages of hiring Health Advocates instead of a lawyer when negotiating medical bills.
- Experience and knowledge of the medical system
Medical billing advocates provide comprehensive billing assistance to their clients. They have an intimate understanding of the medical billing system, how it works, and how to negotiate your medical bills. Additionally, many medical billing advocates at Amazing Healthcare Consultants are former or current healthcare workers. As such, we understand the caveats of the medical system and have dealt with hundreds of medical bill negotiations similar to yours.
- Understanding your medical bills
Another advantage of hiring a medical billing advocate is that we can help you understand your bills. We can comprehend the medical jargon and billing codes that medical facilities use and can explain them to you. Lawyers, on the other hand, understand the legal code but not the medical billing code.
- Forming a repayment plan
In most cases, when you negotiate your medical bills, you won’t be able to get all of them erased. Instead, the goal is to negotiate for a lower price and then form a repayment plan that fits your budget, and that’s ok with the debtor in question. Medical billing advocates can help you form this repayment plan, but a lawyer will not.
- Negotiating with your insurance company
In addition to negotiating with your medical provider, a medical billing advocate will also negotiate with your insurance company. We’ll ensure that they’re providing adequate coverage and aren’t trying to get out of paying all or part of your medical bills.
- Negotiating for lower medical bills
While lawyers can only tend to get involved in negotiations when your cases include legal matters, medical billing advocates can always negotiate for lower bills.
- More affordable than lawyers
While medical billing advocates aren’t free or cheap, they aren’t as expensive as lawyers. On average, medical billing advocates charge between $75 and $200 per hour, while lawyers charge double or triple that amount. Contact us for an exact quote and to find out how much we can save you during medical bill negotiations.
Frequently Asked Questions
Final Thoughts About Lawyers Negotiating Medical Bills
While lawyers are a great tool to have in your arsenal when negotiating medical bills, there are limits to what they can do. If your medical bills don’t involve a legal matter, settlement, or lien, a lawyer won’t be able to help you as much. Instead, you should contact us at Amazing Healthcare Consultants to get help from a medical billing advocate. We can help negotiate your medical bills in any situation, help you understand them, and develop a repayment plan.