Who is responsible for medical bills not covered by insurance?

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Who is responsible for medical bills not covered by insurance?

I visited a hospital last year for annually physical checkup. I also received several vaccine shots which both front desk and the doctor confirmed it would be covered by my insurance. However, I got an over $1000 bill from the hospital. The hospital claimed it is my responsibly to pay the bill. They claimed the representative and the doctor were not responsible for the wrong info, and I am the only person who should check the insurance coverage. The question is if they did not know, why not let me check rather than gave me the wrong info. It’s a big, famous hospital. Now they offer me a maximum 300$ discount (valid in 14 days). Should I accept their offer? Is this legally the best I could expect?Forrest

Asked on November 29, 2012 under Bankruptcy Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The patient is responsible for paying all amounts not paid by insurance. If a doctor or the insurance company gave you wrong information, under some situations, you may be able to sue them for your additional cost, based on, for example, a theory of negligence (carelessness)--but if you do not first take care of  the bill, you could be sued.

As for whether this is a good discount or not--there is no way to say. Every institution has its own policy on collections: some are "soft touches" and you may be able to get more from them; other ones take a hard line, and getting a $300 discount is exceptional. It depends on the policy and reputation of this hospital.


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