Medical liens offer a simple and convenient way for patients to receive medical services well before paying. That’s the good news. The bad news is that, if another organization pays for your health care following an injury — and then you win a lawsuit — you’ll probably have to pay your benefactor back out of the settlement.
States set laws on eligibility for liens, so you’ll definitely want to talk to a local attorney to see if there could be liens on a personal injury settlement. Generally, though, liens can be categorized by the institution that actually pays for health care following an injury. Here are the possible holders of medical liens to ask about when you win a personal injury case:
- Health Care ProvidersSome hospitals, doctors, and independent clinics accept payment on a lien basis. If you have the luxury of forethought, talk to your attorney; they probably have some great providers they already work with.
Some hospitals might ask you to sign a Letter of Protection, which guarantees their right to payment out of the eventual settlement. Still, paying out of your settlement is a much better alternative to paying out-of-pocket.
- Health Insurance CompaniesInsurers usually expect to get paid back for any medical expenses you’ve incurred if you win a handsome settlement in court. There’s probably a clause in your policy that gives the insurer a right to place a lien on that settlement.
One option to sidestep a payout to your insurance company is to find a facility that offers cash pricing before you receive treatment. Providers and patients alone negotiate a cash price, which is typically much, much lower than what your insurance company has to pay. For low cash prices on all diagnostic imaging procedures, with or without a lien, call BestPriceMRI.com at 888-322-7785.
- Government Agencies and ProgramsLiens from Medicaid, Medicare, and the Veteran’s Administration must be paid back before liens from other parties. That’s why they’re called “super liens.” If you any of these institutions paid for your medical care, talk to an attorney about how these liens will affect your settlement.
Again, if you’re in a position to choose, you can always choose a diagnostic imaging facility that accepts cash payments to avoid incurring a super lien.
- Workers’ Compensation BenefitsIf worker’s compensation pays for your health care, and your lawsuit is with your employer, it’s unlikely that they’ll place a lien on the settlement. However, if you sue a third party involved in an injury, and workers’ compensation pays for your care, they probably will issue a lien on any final payout.
Luckily, many states limit workers’ compensation liens to just two-thirds the value of the actual medical expense. Still, it’s always a good idea to ask health care providers about the possibility of cash pricing when possible.
As in all health care spending, choosing affordable providers will keep more money in your pocket. When you’ve been wrongfully injured, you’re not always in a position to choose your place of treatment, but if you are, inquire about cash pricing to avoid more expensive liens from third-party payers.
Give us a call if we can assist you with your medical lien MRIat 800-558-2223