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Paying Your Medical Bills

How to Pay Your Medical Bills

In a fault-based, or “tort liability” state such as Arizona, your medical bills are part of your “damages” claim against the person who caused your accident. The person who caused your accident is referred to as the “tortfeasor”, and the tortfeasor’s insurance company will not pay your medical bills as they accrue. Until your damages claim against the tortfeasor is settled, you will need to make arrangements to have your medical bills paid.

There are several ways to handle your medical bills, including:

  • Health Insurance – If you are covered by a health insurance policy that could pay these bills, we suggest that you use that insurance.
  • Lien Agreement – Some doctors may be willing to enter into an agreement to be paid when you settle your case. If you have no other insurance, this may be the only way to avoid collection actions by these doctors. But be aware that the doctors will want to be paid in full when your case settles.
  • Speak to Your Doctors – Ask them to hold your bills until you can settle your case. Very few doctors will do this – but some will. If they do, they usually assess a finance charge for waiting for their bill to be paid.
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  • Pay Cash – Most doctors will accept a substantial reduction in their bills if they receive payment directly from their patient at the time of service. If you choose this route, please keep detailed records of all payments so we can include those bills as part of your damages.
  • Do Nothing – But understand that the doctors may turn your bill over to a collection agency, which could adversely affect your credit rating.

You may end up using a different approach with each provider. For example, your health insurer may pay your emergency room bill, but not cover chiropractic care, or one provider may offer a substantial discount for being paid cash, while another provider may not offer any cash discount but offer you a lien agreement.

Please consider each of these options carefully and feel free to call us with any questions.