This is a very complicated area of law right now and the answer depends on a number of factors.
Generally speaking, yes, most hospitals may balance bill after accepting most insurance payments when the treatment was for injuries caused by a negligent third party. There are numerous exceptions and requirements, any number of which may apply to your situation.
Also, most hospitals will negotiate the amount they will accept for satisfaction of the lien.
The deadlines for filing a lien are also complicated.
You really should consult with an experience injury attorney to protect your rights.
I would have a slightly different answer than my esteemed colleague from the great State of Arizona, although perhaps he is tuned into a quirk of local practice with which I am not familiar. A point of clarification needs to be raised. I can't tell from your question whether the hospital was paid by your health insurance, or by your car insurance (PIP, med pay). You should have given them your health insurance information, and asked that all bills be submitted to them. In that case, they would have been paid whatever your health insurer provides for, and assuming the hospital was a participating provider with your health plan, they would only be able to bill you for whatever your health plan permits them to bill to the subscriber. If the bill was paid by your car insurer, then yes, they are probably able to balance bill. But you may still be able to submit the bill to your health insurer in that case.
I have to add that one of my favorite places is Harold's Corral in Cave Creek, especially during football season. Good luck.
The author of this post is licensed to practice law in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia. This post is intended as general information only, and is not provided as legal advice in connection with any specific case, and does not create an attorney-client relationship.
Yes, in Arizona, health care providers are allowed to "balance bill" pursuant to Arizona Revised Statue Sec. 33-931. Balance billing is the practice of seeking to obtain additional funds after payment of less than its full billed charges. In order to be enforceable, the lien has to be recorded in the County where the healthcare provider is located, and recorded within thirty days after the patient receives services, and at least thirty days before settlement of the personal injury claim. While the lien may be enforced against third party settlements, it does not apply to health insurance, uninsured or underinsured motorist claims. An experienced personal injury attorney should be able to determine whether the lien is enforceable. Even if it is enforceable, there are many ways of contesting and negotiating the lien. For example, in a recent case, I was able to reduce a recorded "balance bill" lien by more than one million dollars, money which then went to the client, and not the health care provider.
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