When people are seriously injured in car accidents, they are often entitled to car insurance settlements to help cover their medical expenses.
Unfortunately, some hospitals throughout the country are seeing these car insurance settlements as a way to boost their revenue and have been going after funds that are intended to go to the car accident victims.
Going after car insurance settlements means more money for hospitals because they often give health insurers discounted charges in exchange for doing business with the hospital. Therefore, they can charge more for the care if the insurance provider isn’t involved.
Hospitals pull off the scheme by either sending a non-discounted bill to the car accident victim and requesting payment in full or filing a lien against accident victims for any settlement money they receive from the car insurance provider.
In an example of this that occurred in our own backyard, St. Luke’s Hospital refused to accept the health insurance of more than 900 patients who had been injured in car accidents in order to pursue a higher payout from car insurance settlements.
In a recent multi million-dollar settlement agreement that stemmed from a lawsuit filed by three of these patients, the hospital agreed to stop the practice immediately and provide compensation to all of the 930 patients who were affected.
The settlement appears to be one of the first to stop hospitals from engaging in this greedy repayment practice. Three other hospitals in the Kansas City area are currently facing similar charges, including Truman Medical Center, Research Medical Center and Liberty Hospital.
Car accident victims deserve every penny of the car insurance settlements they receive, which is why it’s so disturbing that hospitals are trying to take advantage of the system to bring in more revenue.
It reminds us of the fact that hospitals are money-making entities that sometimes place profit over their patients.
Source: The Kansas City Star, “St. Luke’s Hospital settles health insurance cases with accident victims,” Steve Everly, April 25, 2014