Emergency Hospital Care For Uninsured
Written by Greg on March 31, 2013
As a personal injury attorney in Houston, I see victims have been seriously injured in accidents almost every day. Many of the innocent victims of a car accident or a truck wreck, are uninsured, meaning that they carried no health insurance at the time of the accident.
One of the first things a hospital will do in their “triage” is to find out whether the personal injury victim carries insurance or not. Unfortunately, for those who do not carry health insurance, the care they receive in most cases is not the same as the care that a person would receive if they carry health insurance. People have broken bones and are told they don’t, many people are discharged with very serious injuries that are not immediately life threatening and many necessary treatments and testing are omitted.
Without a doubt, the trend is to patch up the innocent victim who does not carry health insurance as quick as possible with the minimum possible care. Because many times the necessary testing is not done, the victim has no idea the extent of their injuries or what needs to be done to treat them until they follow up with another doctor they pay.
To add insult to injury, the hospital will almost always file a “hospital lien” which in Texas is a statutory lien on any money that may come out of a personal injury claim from the accident. That the hospital seeks to be paid is not the problem, the problem is the hospital “jacks up” the billing to the ridiculous level and then asserts to be paid the whole amount. A rule of thumb is that the hospital will file a lien seeking about 3 to 5 times more than they would expect to be paid by a health insurance company for the same service.
So not only is the uninsured personal injury victim not given necessary testing, diagnosis and treatment, they are over charged for the treatment provided.
Houston personal injury victims who are uninsured as far as health insurance, should consider following up with a doctor of their choosing as quickly as possible after discharge from the emergency room so they can obtain necessary treatment and testing as soon as possible to speed their recovery. Although it is often difficult for families to pay the high cost of medical care out of their pocket, it is often necessary due to the lack of real treatment in the emergency rooms.