Managing Medical Costs During a Malpractice Claim
Managing medical costs during a malpractice claim may seem tricky. But with the right professional help and a good medical malpractice attorney, along with some creative thinking, it can easily be done. If you’re in the middle of a malpractice suit and facing ongoing medical bills and expenses, read on.
Discounts and Financial Services
Before you start to stress about who will pay for what, think about obvious discounts and savings in places you’d normally use to save a buck, like prescription discount cards, prescription programs and discounts for certain age and wellness demographics. All too often, people get so tied up in the complications that come along with a medical error and malpractice lawsuit that they forget about the savings right in front of them.
No matter what your exact circumstances and what medical mistake was made, you’ll want to get in touch with your health insurance company to be sure of what’s covered and what’s not. Knowing this information going into a medical negligence suit will be important when it comes time for fair compensation and more. Understanding where your coverage gaps will show up and having a plan early on for how you’ll handle them will be imperative to navigating mounting medical costs during a malpractice suit.
The great news here is that your health insurance company can’t not cover something simply because you’re suing your doctor. Instead, they owe you the same coverage they would have had there not been a medical error. While your new medical situation could mean areas your insurance company wasn’t set up to cover originally are an issue, those are the only major additional expenses you’ll have to worry about up front. That is, if your personal injury caused you to need a medical procedure that was never covered before, you’ll need to find a way to cover it privately. Or, in the case of a policy with a deductible you never would have met before, you’ll need the funds to reach that mark. Knowing the answers to these questions early on will help you come up with a financial plan as you work through your claim.
Case Managers, Care Teams, and Advocates
Maybe you’re a cancer patient who had impeccable care after a Google search for ‘cancer treatment in Marmora, NJ.’ Later, you transferred to another state and picked up care there. If this is the case, or you simply have another doctor you trust more than the ones in the facility that hurt you, it doesn’t hurt to go back. Consider returning to your old treatment center, doctor, or primary care provider, and explaining what is going on. Most major hospitals offer care managers, social workers and advocates for patients. If it means changing your doctors back so you can be under the care of someone you trust, you should think about it.
While it might feel like you’re going backwards, nothing will help pull you through a medical malpractice claim more than being under the care of doctors you have a relationship with. In returning to an old care team, nurses who know you by name, and familiar environment, you’ll feel comfortable enough to utilize their resources. When returning to the place you trust, ask about ideas they may have on covering expenses. From grants to funding programs and even suggestions on how to work with your other doctor’s office, your former allies may be able to point you in the right direction on paying for medical expenses going forward.
If old medical alliances seem too awkward, or you no longer have trust in the healthcare system, consider reaching out to friends and family. Ask a trusted family member to set up a Go Fund Me or other fundraiser in your name. While many people struggle with asking for help, this is not a time to worry about your pride. You’ll want the best medical care you can get and that just may mean a little help from family and friends. While you’re there, ask about any recommendations they have for a good malpractice lawyer.
Medical Lawyers and Lawsuits
When facing a medical injury, you’ll want the help of medical malpractice attorneys. Whether you ask friends and family or simply do your homework on the internet, find an attorney who specializes in personal injuries so they’ll be able to answer your questions about your legal rights. Most attorneys offer a free initial consultation. It’s never to early to ask about how you’ll handle costs going forward.
While a malpractice attorney is not the same as a hospital finance or billing department, odds are, they’ve heard complaints from people in your same situation before. Don’t hesitate to ask up front how they can help you fend creditors off. In many situations, they’ll be able to intervene with billing tied directly to your claim.
When seeking legal representation for your malpractice claim, be sure to ask not only about how you’ll pay for uncovered fees but what the attorney expects for fair compensation. Your emotional distress, future treatments, pain and suffering, and even compensation for a delayed diagnosis all add up to a future lump sum payment. Your attorney may even be able to tell you in advance if they can delay your medical payments until the case is settled; not an uncommon way of handling it.
If your injury makes it so you can’t work, ask your attorney how to apply for disability. They’ll know how to skip past the long waiting periods and get you monthly payments faster. If, because of losing your job, it means you’ll soon be losing your insurance too, make it a point to visit your local social services office. With no income, you may be eligible for Medicaid in the United States, which means full coverage at little cost to you.
In the end, by advocating for yourself, using professional tools and resources as well as the help of family and friends, you’ll be able to keep up with medical expenses or at least put them off until your case is finished. While the situation isn’t ideal, doing these things will pay off in the long run if the verdict comes out in your favor.