Interviewer: Could a lawyer help negotiate down medical bills and liens?
Kevin Roach: Yes. On almost every case it seems like there is some sort of hospital lien and there are Medicare and Medicaid liens. There are a number of ways to do that. In Missouri, there is a medical lien statute, which actually protects people who are injured and have lot of medical bills. There is a way you can use that Missouri lien statute to protect a portion of the settlements so that insurance company doesn’t take the full settlement.
A large part of what we do is we try to negotiate liens down, because I don't want anybody to get an unfair settlement. I don't want a hospital to get an unfair portion of any settlement. The medical providers are legally entitled to certain portion of the medical bills, but they're getting more and more aggressive with their medical liens and refusing to submit bills to health insurance and whatnot. We're seeing more and more liens that we have to deal with.
We've had some big successes, specifically dealing with Medicare and Medicaid, where we've been getting some very good results on those lien reductions lately. Those could be very challenging, but it's also rewarding at the same time when you get a $100,000 lien knocked down by 90% and you just end up walking away with a sizable settlements. It's very rewarding.
Interviewer: What were to happen if your medical bills were more than what the insurance can and will cover?
Kevin Roach: I can't find the exact statue, but if the medical bills exceed the amount of insurance coverage in Missouri, what you do is you see a Missouri lien statute, which protects your client or the situation and it only entitles the hospital or doctor to up to half of the net proceeds.
For instance, say you have $100,000 in medical expenses and there is a $25,000 policy limit on your case. While the hospital that's owed $100,000 cannot take the full $25,000, they're limited to half of the net proceeds. Say if the settlement was $25,000, your attorney's fees are a third so you're net proceed would be $16,666 while the $100,000 hospital lien would only be entitled to half of your net proceeds, which would be $8,333. In essence the Missouri medical statute knocks that $100,000 medical bill down to $8,333.
The good thing about that is the hospital can never come after you for their remaining balance on their $100,000 bill. If they have a certain lien on your settlement they're bound to only receive the amount they're entitled to under the statute, which in this scenario would be little over $8,000.
It's there to protect people and a lot of times you can use that lien statute to really remove a lot of debt and it's something that if you don't have an attorney you’re probably not going to know about and you're not going to be able to get rid of all of this debt and the hospital is going to be hounding you for all of the outstanding medical bills.