Recent Blog Post

Negotiating Medical Bills After Settlement

WRITTEN BY:
Steven Matz
April 3, 2024 | Car Accident, Settlement

Key Takeaways:

  • Following a Michigan auto accident, medical expenses can pile up quickly and might include hospital fees, doctor consultations, diagnostic tests, surgical procedures, medications, rehabilitation costs, and more.
  • When a settlement amount is less than accumulated medical bills, you should begin negotiations with your health insurance company immediately.
  • Important steps to take before entering negotiations include thoroughly reviewing all medical bills for correct billing, notating if you received unnecessary care, and looking closely at exorbitantly high costs.
  • Negotiating medical bills can help reduce costs and prevent financial strain, increasing the chance of receiving fair treatment and maximizing your settlement amount.

Can You Negotiate Medical Bills After a Settlement?

Yes, you can negotiate your medical bills. To start negotiations, you will need to gather all medical bills and documentation related to your settlement. Then, be sure to contact your healthcare providers to discuss potential negotiation options. If you are unsure of how best to approach negotiations, you should first consult with an attorney. A skilled legal professional will guide you through the process and what to expect.

Case Study Example Where Medical Bills Exceeded a Victim’s Injury Settlement

Reaching a settlement following an auto accident may appear at first to be the end of a very long process. However, that often is not the case. We recently read a Reddit feed on how to negotiate medical bills after a settlement. This got us thinking, and we wanted to dive into this particular topic more in-depth.

While sitting at a red light, a driver rear-ended the Redditor’s car, injuring all three passengers. It was classified as a non-fault accident, and the driver was able to reach a settlement with his insurance company, which has a 25/50 policy.

As a result, he received $25,0000, the maximum available amount. However, his medical bills following the accident added up to around $30,000, which was higher than the actual settlement.

While this particular Redditor has health insurance through the military, the hospital and the provider, Tricare, both have been added to what is referred to as a medical lien. Medical liens are essentially payment agreements, allowing you to receive medical care and defer payment until you reach that personal injury settlement.

At this point, with the settlement negotiations concluded, our Redditor has been advised to attempt negotiations with the hospital itself but does not know how to go about it in the best possible way.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, Matz Injury Law is here to bring justice to the situation. Below, we break a scenario like this down and texplore options for negotiating medical bills after a car accident.

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Understanding Michigan Medical Bills Post-Accident

Following a car accident, various medical expenses can quickly add up. These expenses include medical care costs necessary to treat injuries resulting from the accident up until healing begins.

Medical bills post-settlement can include various charges, such as:

  • Hospital fees
  • Doctor consultations
  • Diagnostic tests (e.g., x-rays, CT scan, MRI)
  • Surgical procedures
  • Medications, and
  • Rehabilitation costs (e.g., physical therapy)

With so many potential charges adding up, it is no wonder that a Michigan accident victim will feel overwhelmed. You also may be dealing with various co-pays, meeting a set deductible, and figuring out your auto insurance limitations.

Its difficult healing and dealing with the psychological effects of an accident itself. Often, victims are left feeling anxious about how to pay for it all.

What if My Medical Bills Are More Than My Settlement?

Man holding his head in his hands sitting on the couch looking sad

Insurers have what is called subrogation rights. Subrogation rights allow Insurers to demand the amount spent on your medical care to come out of the settlement. Look for this listed on your insurance policy. This can help you gain a better understanding of what it means so you can be prepared.

If your medical bills are more than your car accident settlement, you should begin negotiations with the lien holders as soon as possible. This includes parties such as your health insurance company. Steps to take include gathering your medical bills and documents, carefully notating all visits and costs, and, of course, speaking to a Michigan personal injury lawyer.

You probably feel overwhelmed, like our Redditor friend. If you are in the same or similar situation as them, focus on your healing and keep reading. We will expore how to negotiate your medical bills after a settlement.

Steps to Negotiating Your Medical Bills Successfully

Actionable steps to take when negotiating your medical bills include the following.

1. Review all Medical Bills Thoroughly for Correct Billing

Begin by reviewing all medical bills thoroughly. Keep in mind that the amounts on these bills are not always accurate or reasonable, so scrutinize the breakdown of charges. In this breakdown, check off the medical services you know you received.

Healthcare providers are known, whether intentionally or accidentally, to list healthcare services you did not receive or inflate those that you did. Ways this occurs include:

  • Billing code mistakes, including using codes for similar but more expensive medical procedures than you received (called upcoding).
  • Billing duplication, billing more than once for the same procedure.
  • Charging individually for procedures usually bundled together at a discounted price.

Identifying any of these errors will help you enter negotiations and protect more of your settlement money.

2. Notate if You Received Unnecessary Care

Review your medical records and bills and note any treatments or procedures you received from providers that did not contribute to your healing and eventual recovery. Each item listed should relate to medical care that was necessary to help you recover from the injuries sustained in the auto accident.

3. Look and Compare Exorbitantly High Costs

If, in your review of medical bills, you see costs that seem exorbitantly high for the type of care you received, compare them to what medical providers usually charge. For example, if you are uninsured, you may see higher medical costs than if you had your own private health insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid.

4. Negotiate with Health Insurance Companies

By reviewing and scrutinizing your medical bills and records, you can now enter negotiations with the insurance companies, pointing out any medical treatment or procedure that falls into any of the following categories.

  • Unrelated to the accident and your subsequent recovery
  • Considered medically unnecessary
  • Ones where the costs appear exorbitantly high, and
  • Those that appear to be improperly billed.

You can also consult with a Michigan accident attorney beforehand or at any time during the negotiation process.

The Importance of Negotiating Medical Bills in Michigan

woman on the phone reviewing her medical bills looking very confused

The importance of negotiating medical bills in Michigan cannot be overstated. You deserve to be treated fairly, and this means you must take steps to protect your personal injury settlement and have these bills reduced.

In essence, negotiating medical bills can help reduce costs and prevent financial strain, providing a higher chance that you receive fair treatment and maximize your settlement amount.

Going forward, you can also become more proactive in your healthcare by asking questions, discussing options when your insurance coverage clearly will not pay for a certain procedure or treatment, and negotiating a price beforehand.

Related Resources for Negotiating Medical Bills

To learn more about subjects involving car accidents, injuries, and necessary compensation, we provide the following related resources to help you find the answers you need.

Can You Sue for Aggravated Injuries Due to an Accident: Understand what aggravated injuries are, how to prove a pre-existing condition, and more.

How Long Does a Car Accident Settlement Take?: Learn more about the settlement process, Michigan’s no-fault insurance laws, and the various tactics an insurance company may use to delay a personal injury claim settlement.

What Is So Dangerous About Concussions from Car Accidents?: Find out what the signs of a concussion are, how serious it can be, and what you should do after a car accident.

If I Have Medicare, Can I Opt Out of PIP Insurance?: Learn what personal injury protection insurance is in Michigan, whether you can opt out if you have Medicare, and how the insurance claims process and coverage differ between the two.

Is Your Injury Case Settlement Taxable?: Find out when a personal injury settlement is not taxable and what requirements must be in place.

If you have more questions involving your personal injury or wrongful death case, reach out to our law offices for answers and advice.

Why Michigan Residents Choose Matz Injury Law?

Our dedication to injury clients throughout the years and confident knowledge of personal injury and insurance law have earned us heartfelt testimonials from clients throughout Michigan. We value the attorney-client relationship first and foremost and listen to our clients while working together to obtain the most out of their lawsuit. Earning over $300 million dollars for clients so far, our law firm continues to advocate for the injured and seek fair settlements in each case.

Testimonials

“For anyone looking for an attorney, please look no further than Matz Injury Law!! Not only was Jared professional, he helped me beyond what I could have asked for. I’m so thankful for you all!!! To say I’m appreciative and grateful is an understatement. There’s no need to look for any other attorneys for your auto accidents!! They are so wonderful!!! Highly recommended 10/10!!!!!” — Tessa C.

“Steve Matz was there when I needed him. Nobody expects to be a victim of a car accident, but when I found myself in that situation, it was overwhelming. Steve made everything easy. Steve did not accept the insurance Company’s first offer. He held out and got me a better settlement. Steve is very kind and professional. I highly recommend Matz Injury Law.” — Sharon K.

“I reached out to Steve after my car accident, and even without paying him, he was there for me. They offered me advice and told me everything I needed to know about what my insurance company owed me. He cares about people, and it shows!” — Ky W.

Quotes to Empower Your Healing

“It’s not the strength of the body that counts, but the strength of the spirit.” — J.R.R. Tolkien

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Never Settle for Less Than What You Deserve

Following an auto accident, you can feel overwhelmed and wish to get past it as quickly as possible, especially when it comes to dealing with the insurance companies. However, never settle for less than what you deserve. We can help. Request your free consultation with a experienced personal injury attorney by calling our office phone number, 1-866-22Not33, or submitting the online contact form today.

Frequent Answered Questions

How Long Does the Negotiation Process Typically Take?

The negotiation process usually takes 2-3 months in general, but the duration of the process varies depending on the complexity of the personal injury case and the willingness of healthcare providers to negotiate. It is essential to remain patient yet persistent throughout the process.

Are There Any Risks Involved in Negotiating Medical Bills in Michigan?

While negotiating medical bills can be beneficial, there is a risk of damaging your credit if payments are not made promptly. It is crucial, then, to communicate effectively with healthcare providers and follow through on negotiated agreements that may include a payment plan for medical debt.

What if My Healthcare Provider Refuses to Negotiate?

If a healthcare provider refuses to negotiate, consider seeking assistance from a personal injury attorney experienced in medical bill negotiation. By doing so, you can gain a better understanding of your rights and what can happen next.

What if I Cannot Afford to Pay My Medical Bills After a Settlement?

If you are having difficulties paying medical bills after a settlement, contact Matz for a free consultation to explore your options. We can help assess your situation and provide guidance on managing medical bills and protecting your financial well-being.

steven matz headshot

Written By Steven Matz

Founding Shareholder

Steven J. Matz is a founding shareholder of Matz Injury Law. The firm’s concentration is on personal injury litigation, with an emphasis on traumatic brain injury.

The maximum contingency fee permitted by law is actually 331/3%. Michigan court rules require that the attorney fee be computed on the net sum recovered after deducting all disbursements properly chargeable to the enforcement of the claim.

What does 22not33 mean, exactly?

We can charge 22% while virtually all other injury attorneys charge 331/3% because we are very, very, good at obtaining results for our clients.

We do not spend millions of dollars on television ads; instead, we offer a lower fee to all our clients. We do not have dozens of lower paid associates handling our work. All our clients are represented by Steven and Jared Matz. Steven Matz started the firm in 1977 and since then has dedicated his life to representing injury victims. Jared joined the firm in 2016 but grew up listening to stories, discussing theories, and generally learning at the dinner table about how to effectively and compassionately represent injury victims. Jared Matz was literally born to represent individuals involved in motor vehicle crashes.

All of our cases are handled on a contingency fee and all our cases are handled at 22%. Whether the case settles or goes through trial, the fee does not change. While our competitors make excuses as to why they charge so much, we are obtaining results for our clients at a lower fee.

At a typical television advertising law firm, your first call will be handled by a receptionist, who may refer you to an intake person, who will discuss your claim with an intake manager, who then discusses your claim with an associate, who may then report to a partner. You may never speak with the person whose name is at the top of the letterhead. At Matz Injury Law you will always speak with either Steven Matz or Jared Matz.