If you’ve been injured, you may be tempted to pay for your medical care related to that injury using a medical finance company. Medical financing allows you to “charge” the health costs for payback with interest at a later date. If you don’t have insurance, you may see this as a way to cover your care costs without digging into your bank account. If you’re insured, you may be waiting for compensation from the responsible party and don’t want injury care on your insurance.
Whether you have insurance or not, medical finance companies aren’t usually the best way to go for injury-related care costs, especially if you’re currently insured. Generally, using your health insurance is cheaper, gives you more treatment options and access to more favorable laws for repayment in Colorado. In both scenarios, using medical financing firms to pay for medical care related to an injury can cost you at trial later, and a recent state court ruling illustrates how this happens.
Medical Financing Companies and Discounted Rates
Back in November of 2015, Jefferson County District Court Judge Christie Phillips ruled that the defendant in an injury case could tell the jury about the money a medical finance company paid for care secured by a plaintiff who was hurt. This allowed the defendant to show the jury the wholesale prices the finance company paid medical providers, which are considerably lower than what the injured plaintiff is obligated to pay the finance company back. This could distort the jury’s reality and may lead to them awarding the plaintiff less money for medical bills than he or she will actually pay.
To get how this ruling can impact victim compensation for bills when it comes to medical financing, you have to look at how the state laws work if the victim has medical insurance. Currently, Colorado law doesn’t allow juries to hear the amounts the medical insurance companies actually paid for services, which is less than what doctors and hospitals usually bill. The jury just has to determine whether the charges were necessary and reasonable, and this helps keep insurance companies from making an argument in court about what the injured person actually paid.
With orders like the one discussed above, defendants in an injury case could make a plaintiff look as if he or she is trying to pad medical charges to a jury by displaying the medical finance firm’s discounted figures. That would be a false perception on the jury’s part because the plaintiff will have to pay the higher prices out of his or her recovery, but it’s still a perception that can really harm an injury victim’s case outcome.
If you’ve been injured, try to avoid using medical finance companies to cover your costs so you don’t end up getting the short end of the stick in court. Speak to your medical provider about making a repayment plan if you don’t have insurance instead, and contact an experienced attorney if you need any help with your case.
Have a question? We’re here to help.