Don’t Get Ripped Off in Hospital Lien Scam
Consumers must be wary that they don't get ripped off in a sophisticated "hospital lien" scam. It can happen if you were in a car accident, went to a hospital and racked up $30,000 in medical bills.
You discover later that the hospital refused to submit the bill to your health insurance or Medicare -- and instead filed a lien on your potential personal injury recovery.
You received a check to pay for your injuries, but it is made out to you and the hospital.
In this situation, you are be the victim of an insidious scam perpetrated by hospitals looking to gouge as much money as they can from you -- the injury victim. In today’s video Larry Bodine, Editor in Chief, interviews Dallas personal injury attorney Kay Van Wey about how the scam works.
Money-making medical profit centers
Despite their caring marketing image, in reality, hospitals are money-making medical profit centers. Consumers must be on guard for the scam carried out by hospitals to put a lien on an insurance payment or personal injury claim.
Instead of submitting the medical bill to health insurance or Medicare – where the hospital will be paid at a discounted rate, legitimately negotiated by your health insurance company or Medicare -- hospitals run the lien scam. The aim is to collect the fully-loaded “100% retail price” out of a potential personal injury payment from the wrongdoer.
What is “full retail”?
3 to 4 times more than health insurance pays.
$200,000 for a surgery with an overnight stay.
Whatever the hospital wants to charge.
Don't pay "full retail"
Let’s say you’re injured in a car wreck, and you're treated at the hospital and show your insurance card. Later you discover that a lien has been filed by the hospital and the bill has not been paid. Instead the cost of your hospital visit is now subject to a lien -- an obligation to pay -- that will attach to your personal injury recovery. It’s so unfair to consumers who were unfortunate to be in a car wreck in the first place.
As Van Wey explains, hospitals to not have to submit their bills to your health insurance, Medicare or Medicaid. Instead they can file a lien if they expect that you will get an insurance check or that you may win a case in court. If this happens, it’s time to hire a lawyer.
The person getting ripped off is the successful claimant in a personal injury claim or insurance check. You as the patient will be paying much more than the negotiated rate – you will be paying “full retail” or whatever charge the hospital pulls out of thin air.