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Amy Nickson On 19th Aug,19
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Can you file a lawsuit for emergency room overcharges?
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Nerdwallet Health has found that people in America pay 3 times more in medical debt than other debts. And, surprisingly, medical debt is rising every year. To find the reason behind this, the Nerdwallet has discovered that more than 90% of hospital bills are full of errors. And, the errors are typically in favor of hospital than patients.
This report of Nerdwallet indicates that any medical bill you get has an error in it. And, obviously, due to the error, you are paying more than you are supposed to.
Taking advantage of your sudden severe illness (chest pain, stroke, or accident), many hospitals are earning money unfairly.
One of the common errors they do in the medical bill is overcharging for an emergency room.

What is an emergency room overcharge?

According to the rule, hospitals should charge a person with no-insurance for using an emergency room at the same rate a person with insurance. But, most of the hospitals are not following this provision. They overcharge the patient who has no insurance for the emergency room (ER).
According to the law, the patient is liable to pay the emergency room charges for receiving the services.
But the patient is not liable to pay the emergency room charges that he/she did not receive or consented to.
And, if the patient was over charged for the emergency room due to no insurance coverage, they can dispute the charges made by the respective hospital.

Can a patient file a lawsuit for emergency room overcharges?

Yes, the patient can file a lawsuit against the hospital for the emergency room overcharges that they didn’t receive.
If you think you have been overcharged for the emergency room service, you can speak to an attorney. Even the uninsured patients who have received treatment at the hospital emergency room and overcharged for the service are eligible to file a lawsuit against the hospital.
They are supposed to receive some discounts on their billing.
However, hire an attorney who specializes in these cases so that you can make a strong voice against the dispute the hospital has made in the bill. It is better to consult with a personal injury attorney for this kind of case.

How can you prevent emergency room overcharges?

As per the report of ScienceDaily, nearly 7 million people in America with severe chest pain go to the emergency room at their nearest hospital. They think the charges will be covered by their insurance, but, in reality, they get a bill with emergency room overcharges.
However, you can avoid emergency room overcharges.
Here’s how:

  • Ask for an itemized statement of your medical bill to review the charges thoroughly.
  • Request your doctor to review your statements. You can also request the hospital to audit your statement.
  • Ask the billing desk to make adjustments with the services that you did not receive.

What to do if you are overcharged for emergency room

Avoid paying the amount right away

Most of the people pay the medical bills upfront without reviewing the bill. They make the payment right away as they can afford the amount. That’s what most of the hospitals hope they will do.
But, you shouldn’t do this. Take your time to review the bill closely. If you find any errors, then dispute it to get rid of the overcharge.

Know your states rule for hospital charges

There are almost 15 states in America where patients are protected by the law. The legislated protection is for people who incur unavoidable out-of-network charges. You can make a complaint against the emergency room overcharges. However, you should contact the state office who handles these complaints.
Consider the Consumers Union complaint tool to find out who you should contact.

Contact your insurer regarding the overcharges

If you are an insured person, then you need to talk to your insurer regarding this matter. They may help you to find out the exact reason behind the error. The insurer can also help you to negotiate for the deduction of charges.

Contact the hospital directly

If the insurer won't help you, you can directly contact your hospital about the error. Tell them that you are aware of the emergency overcharges law in your state. If the error is intentional, when pressed, they may lower the bill.

Lastly, if you believe that they overcharge you in an unfair way, you should file a lawsuit against the hospital. Remember, medical debt can ruin your credit score. Most of the hospitals use tricks to maximize their profit. They even sell the debt to the collectors. So, you shouldn’t ignore the bill. Instead of ignoring, you should take steps to fight for the fair charges. After that, you should pay the right amount for the service that you took.

Last Updated on: Mon, 19 Aug 2019

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