Few Facts about Doctors on Lien
Along with health injuries after an accident, you also have to be prepared to deal with the medical expenses for getting treatment. And if you are not covered by any medical insurance and the injuries will not allow working you for few days, then it may feel like a double hit because you will inevitably have more expenses and less income.
In such situation you can get treated by any doctors on lien. In almost every state of America, there are doctors on lien who treats personal injury cases (like ours).
What is Doctors on lien?
Doctors on lien or medical lien are a system whereby a person with accidental injuries can get appropriate treatment from a doctor without paying anything out of pocket at that moment. They can pay after the treatment is completed and have received the insurance claim from the insurance company.
Doctors who have accept liens agree to treat the patient without any reimbursement until the conclusion of a legal case. By availing this facility an accidental injury patient can get treated immediately without worrying about the medical expenses. Normally, the personal injury attorney of the injured person discusses the terms and conditions with the doctor so that it is made clear that how the doctor will be reimbursed after the settlement is done.
Does every doctor agree to be Doctors on Lien?
When someone suddenly faces an accident, and gets injured, they may look for a doctor, but every doctor agrees to liens, in general, and even those who do may not accept the lien terms. There are several reasons a doctor may refuse to accept a medical lien case other than in emergency room:
- There is no surety about the time when the payment will be released. Normally a doctor gets paid immediately after they treat the patient. For treatment they may have to undertake different tests like MRIs and Pet CT scan in order to understand the situation. These are costly test and in case of Medical lien they will not get the payment immediately. Hence, many doctors may not agree to be a doctor on lien.
- Even there is no guarantee of receiving payment after treating a patient. This mainly happens when the total settlement amount is less than the bill due to the doctor. The patient had agreed that they will pay after getting settlement amount. Now as the settlement amount is less, the doctor does not receive in full.
Under such circumstances many doctors do not agree to treat patients on medical lien as their payment is not released in full and possibly not on in time.
Is medical lien only beneficial for patients?
There is no doubt medical liens are beneficial for patients. However, it does not mean that doctors are deprived under this arrangement. Before any doctor starts treatment they get into an agreement with the personal injury attorney of the injured person. It is responsibility of the personal injury attorney to ensure that they give a fair idea about the expected claim reimbursement to their client. This will present a picture in front of both the doctor and patient about the reimbursement that can be received.
How much can a doctor recover from such an incident?
Normally, it is expected that a doctor will be able to recover 100% of their dues once the patient gets their reimbursement from the insurance company. However, the fact is that doctors on lien will receive the full amount only if it is found that the line of treatment was absolutely necessary, and it was quite reasonable. The rules regarding this vary from one state to another. In some states the reimbursement amount will depend upon the insurance company. That is, how much expenditure should incur according to them if the treatment was done from a doctor in their network.
Again, it is the responsibility of the personal injury lawyer to be specific to the patient as well as the Doctor. Hence, it is utmost important that the attorney checks out with the Doctor that how severe is the damage from the accident. Even the settlement amount will also depend upon the severity of accident and the condition of the patient.
Will a lien cost more to the patient?
As per the norms, doctors on lien should not charge the patient anything more than what they would have charged from any other patient, who do have or do not have health insurance. Sometimes the patients are worried that their doctors have charged them more while treating them, however, this is generally untrue. In order to avoid such situations it is best to discuss about the rates of the various treatments beforehand. If it is discussed before the treatment is started then it is obvious that there will be minimal chances that the doctor will charge more and the patient has to bear more than a normal situation.
How is the settlement done with the Doctor?
The settlement will start only after the personal injury lawyer settles the claim and the injured person gets the monetary judgment. The lawyer will then prepare a final statement that how the proceeds received from the settlement will be disbursed among those who have dues.
The lawyer will deduct their fees and the costs incurred by them for handling the case. Then they will pay off the medical bills to the doctors on lien. The rest will them be given to the injured person.
When you get injured by any accident the first thing that you must do is get treated for your personal injury. If you think that you cannot bear the cost of medical expenses at the moment and have a legal case, then you may be able to choose any doctor on lien and begin treatment immediately. However, before the treatment begins, be sure to discuss beforehand the expected charges associated with the treatment as best you can.
In case you want another solution then check if your state provides you with Personal Injury Protection or PIP. If they do so then you can get yourself registered and in case of an accident resulting in personal injury, you can make your claim there.
Have a question? Contact us anytime to discuss.