Nashville, Tennessee – Over Half of Hospital Bills are not Being Paid
Hospitals and medical practices in Tennessee and around the country are finding out they share a growing problem with those the patients they treat: people are not paying their bills.
While the reasons for this cannot be narrowed down to one in specific, the undeniable trend is that all patients are increasingly being made responsible for more portions of their medical care as insurance companies are paying for less. Historically, hospitals and medical providers received 90 percent of their bill from insurance companies. Now, patients are responsible for high deductibles or co-pays that amount to 30 to 40 percent of the bill. A new group of underinsured folk have emerged with the rise of these high deductibles – those who have insurance but struggle with the costs of deductibles and co-pays. Nearly one in three Tennessee adults had outstanding medical debt in 2012.
Wayne Smith, chairman and CEO of Franklin-based Community Health Systems (a local insurance company), has publicly stated that his own company is struggling with “doubtful accounts.” Meanwhile, over 68 rural hospitals across the nation have closed, leaving a gap for healthcare in poor rural communities across the United States. The vast majority of these closings have happened in states that have not expanded Medicaid.
How a Hospital Trip Becomes a Bill
In health care, the billing process is called revenue cycle management, and it is a complex process. The process first begins when a patient walks into a hospital or provider’s office to be treated. From that moment, everything from administrative tasks necessary to process the patient, the medical issue, and diagnoses, is documented. These diagnostic codes then get translated into billing codes.
After the billing codes are submitted, insurance companies then apply the rates and benefits of the patient. It is not uncommon to have separate bills for administrative costs, routine checkups, surgeons, lab technicians, and anesthesiologists. Sometimes patients will even receive a series of separate bills for lab tests and actual treatment.
What Do I Do?
Patients have three options after receiving a bill: 1) pay it in full; 2) work out a payment plan; 3) ignore the bill (which may send you to a collections agency). It is not recommended you ignore a hospital bill. Sometimes you will find that it is worth the investment to hire a lawyer to help you come to an amicable resolution with your medical provider.
Tennessee Insurance Disputes and Civil Litigation Attorneys
When you have suffered a personal injury and are seeking compensation, you may find that civil litigation against an insurance company is the most effective way to resolve your claim. At the office of Calhoun Law, PLC, our attorneys understand the ways in which insurance companies try to avoid giving you coverage because we have worked on behalf of insurance companies. We will aggressively pursue all your claims and work to protect you from unnecessary and high medical costs. Contact us today for a free and confidential consultation.