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Surprise Medical Bills Are About To Become Less Surprising


Sometimes the most painful part of an injury is the cascade of bills you receive in the weeks and months following an emergency room visit.  You think you know how much to expect, because your health insurance charges a flat fee for emergency room visits, so the bill from the ER itself isn’t so bad.  The trouble is that the emergency room physician who stitched your wound was not in your insurance network, and neither was the radiologist who took the images that showed that you didn’t have any broken bones or the ambulance that transported you to the hospital.  And that is how you can get injured on a Friday night, recover from your injury so thoroughly that you can return to work by Monday morning, and be financially ruined for years to come.  A law that will go into effect in 2022 aims to mitigate the problem of surprise medical bills, but if creditors are still harassing how about the thousands of dollars you owe from an ER visit two years ago, contact a Jupiter debt lawyer.

A Farewell to the Out-of-Network Emergency Services Racket

When you are on your way to the hospital in an air ambulance, you have bigger problems on your mind than whether the air ambulance is covered by your insurance.  Health care providers that render emergency services take advantage of exactly that vulnerability by charging exorbitant fees to patients that visit them on an emergency basis.  An emergency room doctor might charge you $400 when the doctor only spent less than half an hour examining you and reviewing your lab work and diagnostic images, only to tell you to make an appointment with your primary care doctor.

A solution to this problem came when America was in the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic, when Americans needed emergency medical treatment and testing more than ever but could least afford it.  The relief legislation approved at the end of 2020 contains a provision that will soon make surprise medical bills as we know them a thing of the past.  Beginning in 2022, when an insured patient visits an emergency room, the out-of-network providers who treat them will be required to charge them the same fees that they charge in-network patients for the same service.  This means that people with health insurance will no longer have to pay financially ruinous bills when they visit the ER.  They might still get a bill from an ambulance, radiologist, or ER physician, but it will be for the same amount that an in-network provider would charge them.

That’s Nice, but What About the Surprise Medical Bills from 2021?

The bad news is that the new law does not apply retroactively.  If you went to the ER in an out-of-network ambulance and received treatment from an out-of-network doctor, the new law does not make those bills disappear, but declaring bankruptcy might.  Talk to a bankruptcy lawyer about discharging your medical bills in bankruptcy.

Contact Our Team for Assistance

A bankruptcy lawyer can help you make a clean break with the medical bills that have been following you around for years.  Contact Nowack & Olson, PLLC for more information.



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