Medical debt and complex medical bills are two of the most significant issues facing the US heading into 2023. Research shows that over a quarter of Americans have problems paying their medical bills. Among third-party debt collections, more than half are medical bills. To say that we have a problem is an understatement.
With billing errors becoming increasingly commonplace, lawyers are among the many resources that Americans use to handle medical bills. There are many different types of lawyers, so it’s essential to know what types of lawyers handle these issues, especially as billing errors become more commonplace than ever.
This article is a guide to how lawyers and other resources may help you to pay, reduce, or eliminate your medical debt. We’ll also look at how a healthcare consultant can assist you when lawyers aren’t getting the job done.
How Can Lawyers Assist with Medical Billing Mistakes?
Several different types of lawyers can assist you with medical billing issues and mistakes.
If you’re facing a medical bill lawsuit, for example, you should hire a lawyer for assistance. Lawsuits are complicated procedures and more common than you might think. According to a recent report titled Preying on Patients: Maryland’s Not-for-Profit Hospitals and Medical Debt Lawsuits, between 2009 and 2018: Maryland hospitals – all of which are classified as not-for-profits – filed 145,746 medical debt lawsuits seeking $268.7 million from patients.
Lawyers are especially useful if your medical bills relate to a personal injury, medical malpractice, insurance, collections or bankruptcy action.
- Medical malpractice attorneys are legal professionals specializing in wrongdoing by medical providers. They may be able to help you resolve any medical bill or charge relating to a doctor or hospital hurting you, or making a mistake during surgery or treatment.
- Insurance litigation attorneys specialize in legal cases where your health insurance company denies your claim or care coverage. Insurance litigation attorneys will also ensure that your insurance company is paying you everything you deserve and are acting in good faith.
- Personal injury attorneys specialize in situations where your medical bills are because of an injury caused by someone else. Should you decide to sue the person who caused your injuries, you’ll need a personal injury lawyer. You can then use the settlement money to pay your medical bills.
- Consumer protection attorneys specialize in handling errors that adversely affect your credit rating, including medical bills and charges. If your medical debt is preventing you from owning a home or obtaining favorable interest rates, they may be able to help.
- Bankruptcy attorneys can help when things get really bad. They will help you explore your options and know your rights regarding medical debt and your belongings.
If you already have a lawyer, ask whether he or she will review your medical bills and negotiate to reduce or eliminate any improper or inflated charges. If not, you should consult with a medical billing advisor. In general, the two will work in tandem to reduce or even eliminate your medical bills.
If your medical billing situation doesn’t have legal ramifications, you might be better off hiring a medical billing advocate. Medical billing advocates have an intimate knowledge of medical billing codes, potential errors, and how to pursue alternative avenues for repaying your medical bills.
How to Lower Medical Costs Without Extra Legal Fees
While going the legal route and hiring a lawyer is a good option, not everyone wants or needs to deal with the expenses and headaches of hiring one. If you want to lower medical costs and pay your medical bills without incurring extra legal fees, here are some things you can do.
1. Consult a Medical Billing Advocate
Anytime you have medical bills you can’t afford, consulting a medical billing advocate should be at the top of your list. You’re getting the best of both worlds with a medical billing advocate. They have an intimate knowledge of medical bills, how health insurance works, and potential legal avenues. We can help you resolve your medical bills on all fronts rather than just one or two.
2. Review Medical Bills
Before going straight to the appeal route, you should first review your medical bills. There’s a chance that the hospital billing department made a billing or code error, resulting in an overcharge.
As with lawsuits, however, reviewing medical bills is tricky and timely. This is especially true if you have little to no experience reviewing them. You won’t be able to identify a mistake, even if you see it. Therefore, it might be worth your while to hire a medical billing advocate to assist you in your billing review.
3. Negotiate to Lower Health Costs
In addition to reviewing your medical bills, you should also open negotiations with your medical provider. Once they understand your financial situation and that you simply won’t be able to pay the bill in full, they may be willing to settling for a reduced amount. This is especially true if they didn’t charge you based on usual and customary charges or average contracted rates.
4. Find Financial Aid
If the hospital isn’t in an understanding mood, your next best option is to pursue financial aid from outside sources. Between government programs, state-run programs, and private charities and establishments, there’s a good chance you can qualify for some form of financial aid. In most cases, you’re entitled to federal or state aid if you can prove a financial need and fit the necessary criteria.
5. Contact Medical Providers and Insurance Companies
You can also contact your medical provider and inquire about a financial assistance policy. If they have one, they’re required to give you the necessary information so you can determine whether you qualify. Additionally, you should also contact your health insurance company. Explain the situation to them and inquire whether they’ll provide additional coverage and assistance.
If not, you may need to pursue legal counsel if you suspect they’re acting in bad faith, not holding up their end of the deal, or giving you bad information.
6. Insurance Appeal
In situations where you face high medical bills because of a denied insurance claim, you have the right to an appeal. You can start by appealing directly to your insurance company, requesting that they reexamine the claim. If that doesn’t work, you have the right request a third-party appeal, where an independent party will examine the claim.
Ask For Guidance From Medical Billing Professionals
While several types of lawyers can help you with your medical bills, medical billing professionals are usually the better option. Medical billing professionals can help you fight your battle on all fronts and get the outcome you deserve.
Here are some things with which a medical billing professional can help you.
- File appeals with your insurance company;
- Ensure your insurance company is acting in good faith;
- Review your medical bills for billing and code errors;
- Negotiate a lower bill with your medical provider;
- Pursue legal avenues to help repay your medical bills;
- Obtain financial aid assistance from the state, federal government, and private entities; and
- Help you form a repayment plan to get rid of your medical bills.
While lawyers are great for medical billing lawsuits, settlements, and personal injury situations, a medical billing professional is often the better option when you have unpaid medical bills.
Frequently Asked Questions About Medical Bills
What’s the Best Way to Get Rid of Medical Debt?
If you’re facing a pile of medical debt that you can’t get rid of, you should contact us at Amazing Healthcare Consultants. Our team of counselors, medical billing advocates, and medical experts can guide you to financial freedom. Among other things, we will help you understand and review your medical bills, clear up any confusion, and devise a plan of attack. Contact us to learn more or to schedule a consultation.