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Hospitals Use Outdated Lien Laws to Profit from Injured Patients

Posted on in Personal Injury

Chicago personal injury attorneysBy: Patrick J. Giese and Eddie Hettel

As this recent story from the New York Times documents, American hospitals routinely exploit archaic healthcare lien laws passed early in the 20th century to profit from injured patients. These laws were passed at a time when fewer than 10 percent of Americans had health insurance in an effort to protect then-vulnerable hospitals from the financial dangers attendant to providing care to uninsured patients. A noble goal though it may have been, now, in a time when health insurance is a pervasive and integral part of the American healthcare landscape, these laws only serve to exploit patients who have suffered injuries through no fault of their own. 

Medical care providers nationwide, whose ownership has grown increasingly consolidated, negotiate and execute complex agreements with health insurance companies to provide services at a discounted rate. This practice permits hospitals to enormously overcharge for services knowing that they will accept substantially less as full payment from health insurance companies.

In what has become altogether too common, once medical providers learn the victim was injured as a result of another’s negligence, they elect not to bill the patient’s health insurance carrier. Instead, hospitals use those outdated laws to assert property interest (liens) against what they assume will eventually be recovered in a personal injury action. This allows hospitals to generate more revenue than they would have received from the patient’s health insurance carrier.

Tomasik Kotin Kasserman stands against predatory lien practices and has extensive experience in reducing healthcare liens imposed upon our clients. Contact our personal injury attorneys today at 312-605-8800 to arrange a free consultation.

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