Author Topic: Am I legally responsible for Hospital bill?  (Read 12912 times)

BTDretire

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Am I legally responsible for Hospital bill?
« on: June 06, 2016, 04:44:03 PM »
I have a 21yr old son that is not a deduction on my 1040, i.e. he is emancipated.
However, he is on my health insurance.
He got hit by a bicycle last Oct, the emergency room bills
have finally started to come to him. They have been reduced considerably by the
insurance company and he has the reduced bills.
 Given the fact that he is on my insurance, does this make me legally responsible for the bill?
I ask because If I'm not responsible, I'll use that as part of my negotiation to reduce the bill further.
 My student son is only earning $4 or $5k and would take a long time to pay this.
I would pay it immediately for a reduction in the principal.
If I'm legally responsible, I don't have much argument.

G-dog

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Re: Am I legally responsible for Hospital bill?
« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2016, 04:56:27 PM »
From what I've seen on other threads here, even if you are legally responsible you have room to negotiate based on willingness to pay immediately.  It is worth asking regardless.  Are all the bills in yet - in my experience, they are dreadfully slow.

Cyaphas

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Re: Am I legally responsible for Hospital bill?
« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2016, 05:06:51 PM »
I have a 21yr old son that is not a deduction on my 1040, i.e. he is emancipated.
However, he is on my health insurance.
He got hit by a bicycle last Oct, the emergency room bills
have finally started to come to him. They have been reduced considerably by the
insurance company and he has the reduced bills.
 Given the fact that he is on my insurance, does this make me legally responsible for the bill?
I ask because If I'm not responsible, I'll use that as part of my negotiation to reduce the bill further.
 My student son is only earning $4 or $5k and would take a long time to pay this.
I would pay it immediately for a reduction in the principal.
If I'm legally responsible, I don't have much argument.


I don't believe you're responsible, but either way, if you have cash in hand they usually are willing to heavily reduce it.

One of my favorite tactics when dealing in any kind of debt, claim you just got your tax return back and you've got lots of calls to make to other debt collectors and only so much money to go around. Ask how much they're willing to reduce the debt. Usually it doesn't take more than one conversation, but you can get pretty elaborate with waiting a few days. Sounding dead beatish helps too. If they think this is their only chance to get any money they'll throw some pretty low ball numbers out there. If you're really feeling frisky you can try negotiate to have it wiped from your/their credit as a negative when you pay it. It really is just another business transaction, you have the money, the negotiating power is with you.


Cassie

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Re: Am I legally responsible for Hospital bill?
« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2016, 05:07:59 PM »
A good friend of mine was in a similar situation although the child was 18 and she was supporting her.  She was on her medical insurance too. She paid the co-pays etc but then she died so she did not pay off any of the final bills after the  insurance paid there part. No one tried to collect from her either because her child was an adult.

Cyaphas

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Re: Am I legally responsible for Hospital bill?
« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2016, 05:11:36 PM »
A good friend of mine was in a similar situation although the child was 18 and she was supporting her.  She was on her medical insurance too. She paid the co-pays etc but then she died so she did not pay off any of the final bills after the  insurance paid there part. No one tried to collect from her either because her child was an adult.

My Fiance works in the billing department at a fairly large hospital. She mentioned it's unusual for them to pursue any debt of a fatality.

MoonShadow

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Re: Am I legally responsible for Hospital bill?
« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2016, 05:16:38 PM »
Given the fact that he is on my insurance, does this make me legally responsible for the bill?
I ask because If I'm not responsible, I'll use that as part of my negotiation to reduce the bill further.

Yes, but it's akin to being a co-signer on a bad loan.  They can come after you should he simply stop making payments, but since it's a medical debt, they can't go after either of you so long as he is paying something monthly.  You do still have a strong negotiating position anyway, though.  I've negotiated large medical bills down about 20% several times, and I was the most directly responsible individual on the plan anyway.

mxt0133

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Re: Am I legally responsible for Hospital bill?
« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2016, 05:22:39 PM »
Yes, but it's akin to being a co-signer on a bad loan.  They can come after you should he simply stop making payments, but since it's a medical debt, they can't go after either of you so long as he is paying something monthly.  You do still have a strong negotiating position anyway, though.  I've negotiated large medical bills down about 20% several times, and I was the most directly responsible individual on the plan anyway.

Did you have insurance at the time?  I find that if you have insurance the providers cannot or will not negotiate the co-pays and deductibles.  I have tried several times, but I guess I was not persistent enough.

For individuals that do not have insurance then they are more open to taking a reduced payment if paid immediately.

MoonShadow

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Re: Am I legally responsible for Hospital bill?
« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2016, 07:20:04 PM »
Yes, but it's akin to being a co-signer on a bad loan.  They can come after you should he simply stop making payments, but since it's a medical debt, they can't go after either of you so long as he is paying something monthly.  You do still have a strong negotiating position anyway, though.  I've negotiated large medical bills down about 20% several times, and I was the most directly responsible individual on the plan anyway.

Did you have insurance at the time?  I find that if you have insurance the providers cannot or will not negotiate the co-pays and deductibles.  I have tried several times, but I guess I was not persistent enough.

For individuals that do not have insurance then they are more open to taking a reduced payment if paid immediately.

Yes, I did.  But the portion that I was negotiating was the remaining out-of-pocket due after the insurance company had paid their part and washed their hands of it.  If they are stubborn about negotiating, you're just too eager.  Make a few $10 payments for several months in a row, and then see how they feel about it.  It also helps if they can see that you have a lot of debts, and they can see, so don't try to b.s. them.  If you have the means, just pay it, it's easier.  I did not have the means at the time.

gooki

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Re: Am I legally responsible for Hospital bill?
« Reply #8 on: June 06, 2016, 10:14:07 PM »
Why are you paying anything?

Surely the person in control of the bicycle at the time who hit your son should be paying?

sol

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Re: Am I legally responsible for Hospital bill?
« Reply #9 on: June 06, 2016, 10:28:20 PM »
Generally speaking, nobody is ever responsible for another person's medical debt unless it's your minor children.  The insured pays the deductible and nothing more.

The hospital knows this, but they count on you not knowing it.  Hospitals can be worse than lawyers and insurance salesmen with the bullying and the quasi-legal innuendo.  They will do anything and everything to try to get money out of you, even if they haven't a leg to stand on.

I would tell them to go after the person who caused the accident, or the injured victim if they're feeling malicious, but to fuck off with the calling me for money.  The most likely scenario here is that they realize your son is destitute and write it off for a loss.  Hospitals are almost always hugely profitable, they can afford it.

PhysicianOnFIRE

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Re: Am I legally responsible for Hospital bill?
« Reply #10 on: June 06, 2016, 10:37:21 PM »
Generally speaking, nobody is ever responsible for another person's medical debt unless it's your minor children.  The insured pays the deductible and nothing more.

The hospital knows this, but they count on you not knowing it.  Hospitals can be worse than lawyers and insurance salesmen with the bullying and the quasi-legal innuendo.  They will do anything and everything to try to get money out of you, even if they haven't a leg to stand on.

I would tell them to go after the person who caused the accident, or the injured victim if they're feeling malicious, but to fuck off with the calling me for money.  The most likely scenario here is that they realize your son is destitute and write it off for a loss.  Hospitals are almost always hugely profitable, they can afford it.

I worked for a hospital that went bankrupt. I had to find another job, along with hundreds of others. I'm not saying that's the norm, but even most profitable "non-profit hospitals" are often working on a margin of 1% or less, and it's only getting leaner. In the big cities with a good payor mix, hospitals can do well. In rural America, the picture isn't so rosy.

Choices

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Re: Am I legally responsible for Hospital bill?
« Reply #11 on: June 06, 2016, 11:14:55 PM »
If you didn't sign as a guarantor at the hospital, then you aren't liable. But, if your son received a service he owes the money. If he can't pay, the options are small payments for a long time, assistance from others (like you), or medical bankruptcy.

Many people don't want to pay medical bills because there's no enjoyable product, like a nice restaurant meal or new car, but it doesn't mean that the bills aren't legitimate. Many hospitals are cutting costs left and right to keep from bankruptcy. We've lost translators, social workers, ICU physicians, many specialists, and other essential staff to try to stay open at all.

neophyte

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Re: Am I legally responsible for Hospital bill?
« Reply #12 on: June 07, 2016, 06:49:29 AM »
If the bicyclist was at fault, I believe the bicyclist should be responsible for the bills. Do you have his contact information?

I hope your son is doing ok.

GuitarStv

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Re: Am I legally responsible for Hospital bill?
« Reply #13 on: June 07, 2016, 07:27:56 AM »
Why are you paying anything?

Surely the person in control of the bicycle at the time who hit your son should be paying?

+1

BTDretire

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Re: Am I legally responsible for Hospital bill?
« Reply #14 on: June 07, 2016, 08:53:09 AM »
Why are you paying anything?

Surely the person in control of the bicycle at the time who hit your son should be paying?

 Yes if I could find the &%$#%$, it was a hit and run. My son was knocked unconscious,
luckily someone found him and by the time the ambulance arrived he was conscious.
He's fine after stitches and staples, xrays, lacerations, a week off work and being pretty sore for
a couple weeks.

honeybbq

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Re: Am I legally responsible for Hospital bill?
« Reply #15 on: June 07, 2016, 09:16:13 AM »
Generally speaking, nobody is ever responsible for another person's medical debt unless it's your minor children.  The insured pays the deductible and nothing more.

The hospital knows this, but they count on you not knowing it. 



I mostly agree. You are not required to pay your adult child's bills... AND the hospital will try to collect anyways.

http://www.bankrate.com/finance/insurance/pay-adult-sons-medical-bills.aspx


AlwaysLearningToSave

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Re: Am I legally responsible for Hospital bill?
« Reply #16 on: June 07, 2016, 09:18:25 AM »
Why are you paying anything?

Surely the person in control of the bicycle at the time who hit your son should be paying?

 Yes if I could find the &%$#%$, it was a hit and run. My son was knocked unconscious,
luckily someone found him and by the time the ambulance arrived he was conscious.
He's fine after stitches and staples, xrays, lacerations, a week off work and being pretty sore for
a couple weeks.

That sucks. 

If your son were hit by a driver in a hit and run, he might have a claim against his uninsured/underinsured motorist policy.  I highly doubt a UIM policy covers injuries from a hit and run cyclist but it couldn't hurt to dig out the policy and take a look on the off chance that it does cover this type of injury (or call your agent to ask).  Is anyone aware of another type of insurance policy similar to UIM that would pay off in this circumstance?  I can't think of anything that would apply...

robartsd

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Re: Am I legally responsible for Hospital bill?
« Reply #17 on: June 07, 2016, 09:58:56 AM »
My wife and I were in a auto collision while we were engaged. Her bills were higher than the medical payments coverage on her auto insurance. We made payments and eventually paid off the radiology and ambulance bills, but after a year or two we realized that it had been several months since we'd heard from the hospital attempting to collect a higher payment or recieved any kind of statement, so we decided to stop paying until they contacted us again. We guess they had written off the debt because it has now been several years and we have not heard from them. Our address has changed several times (always with postal forwarding set up) but our primary email and phone numbers remain the same, so we no reason to think that they can't contact us. If the hospital won't negotiate a discount for a immediate cash payment, I'd recommend that your son just start making a payment that is reasonable for his income.

SKL-HOU

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Re: Am I legally responsible for Hospital bill?
« Reply #18 on: June 07, 2016, 11:26:25 AM »
Why are you paying anything?

Surely the person in control of the bicycle at the time who hit your son should be paying?

 Yes if I could find the &%$#%$, it was a hit and run. My son was knocked unconscious,
luckily someone found him and by the time the ambulance arrived he was conscious.
He's fine after stitches and staples, xrays, lacerations, a week off work and being pretty sore for
a couple weeks.

Wow! What an a$$ to run off leaving your son like that? Is there anything the cops can do to find this a$$hole or have I watched too many cop shows? I mean if it was a car, they would try to find the driver, why not for a bicyclist?

robartsd

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Re: Am I legally responsible for Hospital bill?
« Reply #19 on: June 07, 2016, 11:56:56 AM »
Wow! What an a$$ to run off leaving your son like that? Is there anything the cops can do to find this a$$hole or have I watched too many cop shows? I mean if it was a car, they would try to find the driver, why not for a bicyclist?
Based on what? With a car there is likely much more to go on. Assuming a witness saw and remembered something about the vehicle (make/model/color/license plate) a search of vehicle registration records yeilds viable leads. Even with clear photo of the cyclist riding away there might not be much to use to track down the individual, much less if you only have a vauge description.

frugalnacho

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Re: Am I legally responsible for Hospital bill?
« Reply #20 on: June 07, 2016, 12:04:59 PM »
Wow! What an a$$ to run off leaving your son like that? Is there anything the cops can do to find this a$$hole or have I watched too many cop shows? I mean if it was a car, they would try to find the driver, why not for a bicyclist?
Based on what? With a car there is likely much more to go on. Assuming a witness saw and remembered something about the vehicle (make/model/color/license plate) a search of vehicle registration records yeilds viable leads. Even with clear photo of the cyclist riding away there might not be much to use to track down the individual, much less if you only have a vauge description.

Just put out an APB.  How many bikes could possibly be in the metropolitan area?

MoonShadow

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Re: Am I legally responsible for Hospital bill?
« Reply #21 on: June 07, 2016, 12:07:23 PM »
If you didn't sign as a guarantor at the hospital, then you aren't liable.

If he was still a covered adult under her insurance, then she was the guarantor as a matter of law.  That is not to say that she doesn't have a strong negotiating position, but she is legally liable if the hospital were to consider legal action a viable option.  Again, it's similar to being a co-signer on a loan.  If she had canceled his coverage as an adult, and forced him to pursue an independent policy, then she would not have been liable; but the Affordable Care Act extended the age that an adult child may be covered by the 'rents policy, should the parents desire it, to 25 IIRC.  The idea was to better cover college students, who are notorious for not getting medical coverage.

AlwaysLearningToSave

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Re: Am I legally responsible for Hospital bill?
« Reply #22 on: June 07, 2016, 12:21:46 PM »
If you didn't sign as a guarantor at the hospital, then you aren't liable.

If he was still a covered adult under her insurance, then she was the guarantor as a matter of law.  That is not to say that she doesn't have a strong negotiating position, but she is legally liable if the hospital were to consider legal action a viable option.  Again, it's similar to being a co-signer on a loan.  If she had canceled his coverage as an adult, and forced him to pursue an independent policy, then she would not have been liable; but the Affordable Care Act extended the age that an adult child may be covered by the 'rents policy, should the parents desire it, to 25 IIRC.  The idea was to better cover college students, who are notorious for not getting medical coverage.

Do you have a source backing up this assertion? 

Choices

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Re: Am I legally responsible for Hospital bill?
« Reply #23 on: June 07, 2016, 01:25:00 PM »
If you didn't sign as a guarantor at the hospital, then you aren't liable.

If he was still a covered adult under her insurance, then she was the guarantor as a matter of law.  That is not to say that she doesn't have a strong negotiating position, but she is legally liable if the hospital were to consider legal action a viable option.  Again, it's similar to being a co-signer on a loan.  If she had canceled his coverage as an adult, and forced him to pursue an independent policy, then she would not have been liable; but the Affordable Care Act extended the age that an adult child may be covered by the 'rents policy, should the parents desire it, to 25 IIRC.  The idea was to better cover college students, who are notorious for not getting medical coverage.

Do you have a source backing up this assertion?

You shouldn't be legally responsible.
http://blog.credit.com/2014/08/will-keeping-your-kids-on-your-insurance-hurt-your-credit-92649/

http://www.law.siu.edu/selfhelp/newsletter/52.htm

http://www.bankrate.com/finance/insurance/pay-adult-sons-medical-bills.aspx

MoonShadow

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Re: Am I legally responsible for Hospital bill?
« Reply #24 on: June 07, 2016, 01:39:46 PM »
If you didn't sign as a guarantor at the hospital, then you aren't liable.

If he was still a covered adult under her insurance, then she was the guarantor as a matter of law.  That is not to say that she doesn't have a strong negotiating position, but she is legally liable if the hospital were to consider legal action a viable option.  Again, it's similar to being a co-signer on a loan.  If she had canceled his coverage as an adult, and forced him to pursue an independent policy, then she would not have been liable; but the Affordable Care Act extended the age that an adult child may be covered by the 'rents policy, should the parents desire it, to 25 IIRC.  The idea was to better cover college students, who are notorious for not getting medical coverage.

Do you have a source backing up this assertion?
Not one I'm willing to locate, so I'll say no.  Also, IANAL; so you can take it all how you wish.  I suppose that it's entirely possible that my own experiences were due to state laws, which seems to be the issue.  So I guess it really depends upon your state laws & the particular details of the events, in which case none of us here will be able to answer this question anyway.

SKL-HOU

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Re: Am I legally responsible for Hospital bill?
« Reply #25 on: June 07, 2016, 01:41:29 PM »
Wow! What an a$$ to run off leaving your son like that? Is there anything the cops can do to find this a$$hole or have I watched too many cop shows? I mean if it was a car, they would try to find the driver, why not for a bicyclist?
Based on what? With a car there is likely much more to go on. Assuming a witness saw and remembered something about the vehicle (make/model/color/license plate) a search of vehicle registration records yeilds viable leads. Even with clear photo of the cyclist riding away there might not be much to use to track down the individual, much less if you only have a vauge description.

Just put out an APB.  How many bikes could possibly be in the metropolitan area?

:P

Tami1982

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Re: Am I legally responsible for Hospital bill?
« Reply #26 on: June 07, 2016, 01:47:51 PM »
If it is a non profit hospital this may apply.  My brother had a $16,000 bill, but had no income at the time.  They waived it.  You can apply for this at many non profit hospitals.  They waive/reduce all the time.

EscapeVelocity2020

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Re: Am I legally responsible for Hospital bill?
« Reply #27 on: June 07, 2016, 01:48:32 PM »
Not sure if this applies in your situation, but it is interesting, informative, and darkly humorous - Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Debt Buyers

Cassie

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Re: Am I legally responsible for Hospital bill?
« Reply #28 on: June 07, 2016, 01:55:38 PM »
No he is an adult.  When people die their spouse is legally responsible and the kids that inherit from the estate so in those cases the hospital will come after you. I have been thru this a few times. But in your situation it is not your problem.

BTDretire

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Re: Am I legally responsible for Hospital bill?
« Reply #29 on: June 07, 2016, 03:47:13 PM »
Wow! What an a$$ to run off leaving your son like that? Is there anything the cops can do to find this a$$hole or have I watched too many cop shows? I mean if it was a car, they would try to find the driver, why not for a bicyclist?
Based on what? With a car there is likely much more to go on. Assuming a witness saw and remembered something about the vehicle (make/model/color/license plate) a search of vehicle registration records yeilds viable leads. Even with clear photo of the cyclist riding away there might not be much to use to track down the individual, much less if you only have a vauge description.

Just put out an APB.  How many bikes could possibly be in the metropolitan area?
Or a college campus area!
It happened at about 11pm so I don't know what the lighting conditions were to see the perp.
 I have given my son a bit of a hard time for not getting the police involved, but he
was in poor condition for several days and probably wasn't up to it. His sister visited him about 24 hrs later and cleaned him up, his hair was still matted with blood, she cleaned and touched up a bunch of his abrasions with triple antibiotic. She called me on her way back to her home and said, "your son is kind of minimizing his condition he's pretty banged up".
 I talked to him a couple times and said I'd come see him if he wanted, but he kept declining, even said I'd bring him home to recuperate. His sister was about 50 miles away, I'm 260 miles away.
 

 

BTDretire

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Re: Am I legally responsible for Hospital bill?
« Reply #30 on: July 05, 2016, 02:57:15 PM »
 I discused the bill with the hospital, offered for my son to pay $15 a month. They said we can't go that low, we will make a 36 month payment plan and on $1625.61 that would be $45.20 a month. I ask them if I paid it in full what would they discount it to? They ask what are you offering, I said $900. They told me the best he can do is a 25% discount if paid in full.
 I may have been able to do better if I pushed it to a higher level, but didn't, after all the hospital did do their job!
 I saved $406 of my kids inheritance.
 I paid it on my credit card.
 Notice they always wanted me to give the first number :-)

MoonShadow

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Re: Am I legally responsible for Hospital bill?
« Reply #31 on: July 05, 2016, 07:22:11 PM »
I discused the bill with the hospital, offered for my son to pay $15 a month. They said we can't go that low, we will make a 36 month payment plan and on $1625.61 that would be $45.20 a month. I ask them if I paid it in full what would they discount it to? They ask what are you offering, I said $900. They told me the best he can do is a 25% discount if paid in full.
 I may have been able to do better if I pushed it to a higher level, but didn't, after all the hospital did do their job!
 I saved $406 of my kids inheritance.
 I paid it on my credit card.
 Notice they always wanted me to give the first number :-)

Yes, they were trying to get you to anchor the discussion.  If you had said something around a 25% discount to start with, they might have said they are limited to a 15% cash discount limit.

AH013

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Re: Am I legally responsible for Hospital bill?
« Reply #32 on: July 06, 2016, 11:34:53 AM »
Or a college campus area!
It happened at about 11pm so I don't know what the lighting conditions were to see the perp.
 I have given my son a bit of a hard time for not getting the police involved, but he
was in poor condition for several days and probably wasn't up to it. His sister visited him about 24 hrs later and cleaned him up, his hair was still matted with blood, she cleaned and touched up a bunch of his abrasions with triple antibiotic. She called me on her way back to her home and said, "your son is kind of minimizing his condition he's pretty banged up".
 I talked to him a couple times and said I'd come see him if he wanted, but he kept declining, even said I'd bring him home to recuperate. His sister was about 50 miles away, I'm 260 miles away.

Not calling your son a liar.  But anecdotally, I had a friend who once got into a pretty heated argument outside a club while he was in college that devolved into a fight.  He ended up getting punched in the head and knocked out -- an expensive hospital visit and stitches ensued.  Not wanting to own up to his costly mistake to his parents when the bill came in, he fabricated some story about hitting his head on the way into a cab.

I've been clobbered by bicycles before.  Can't remember the last time someone came at me that I didn't see them coming (lights &/or peddling sounds usually give them away), and came at me so hard it knocked me unconscious and left me banged up and bloody.  If so, at the speeds they'd have to be going I'd imagine there would have been broken bicycle parts, maybe even a completely broken bicycle, debris, probably even the other guy flying over the handlebars and leaving blood on wherever they fell.

All that to say, given your son doesn't want to involve police, didn't want to see you afterwards, can't remember much of the incident, it happened late at night when bad decisions are made, and he is downplaying the extent of his injuries, I don't imagine you'll find this "hit & run bicyclist".

Dicey

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Re: Am I legally responsible for Hospital bill?
« Reply #33 on: July 06, 2016, 12:42:28 PM »
I read your latest post earlier, and came back to share a thought. In the interim, I see that AH013 has made a very astute comment. I hope you will consider it carefully.

My question was going to be "Did your son actually ask you for help with solving HIS problem?" Any chance that by solving it yourself you are enabling him? This question is especially germaine if he has any degree of personal negligence that contributed to the accident.

Personal anecdote: When I was your son's age I got my first career job and moved out. I had insurance through my employer. Six months or so later, I was diagnosed with cancer. I moved home during my treatment, but accepted 100% responsibility for my [not insignificant] portion of MY bills. I didn't know I might have been able to negotiate it, I just paid it. The financial confidence I gained from that experience set me on the path to FIRE. There is nothing that life can throw at me that I can't figure out a way to handle. I believe that's called resillience, and I'm grateful for the upbringing that enabled me to develop that priceless trait.

BTDretire

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Re: Am I legally responsible for Hospital bill?
« Reply #34 on: July 25, 2016, 09:37:50 AM »
I read your latest post earlier, and came back to share a thought. In the interim, I see that AH013 has made a very astute comment. I hope you will consider it carefully.

My question was going to be "Did your son actually ask you for help with solving HIS problem?" Any chance that by solving it yourself you are enabling him? This question is especially germaine if he has any degree of personal negligence that contributed to the accident.

 I don't have any doubt he got hit by a bicycle, and I do believe that the biker ran. I do wonder a bit about fault, never know when two things collide, who was looking where, who had right of way. No, I don't think my son was in a bar fight :-)
 As to "Solving HIS problem" I'm not sure what you mean, we are supporting him while he's in college, he's working some, but not likely to have $1600 laying around, I fully expect to pay the hospital bill, was just looking for ammunition for negotiation.
  BTW, last week I received a bill at my home in his name from a collection agency.
 He was coming home between classes this weekend, so I waited until he was home.
When I ask him about it, we first thought it was for a physics class at college, but he pointed out there is nothing outstanding on the college billing site. Finally figured out it was for a College physicians group.  (abbreviations)
  I had him call the Physicians group and ask where they sent any previous bills and what dates they sent them.
  They had the right address but the wrong street, don't know why they had the wrong street, as he got the hospital bills and I suspect they all got their info from the hospital entrance forms.
  The Physicians group gave us the total, which was more than this bill from the collection agency and said we could pay the total to them and ignore the collection agency.
  I think we have all the bills from the accident paid at this point, But...

Blonde Lawyer

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Re: Am I legally responsible for Hospital bill?
« Reply #35 on: July 25, 2016, 01:02:40 PM »
This is life advice not legal advice.  (1) you may be liable since he's on your insurance.  I noticed on my medical bills my husband is listed as guarantor.  I asked why and told my docs I'm responsible for my own bills.  They said whoever provides the insurance also guarantees payment which is why the EOB's go to that person.  I have not researched this to see if it is correct or not.  (2) You should report this to your son's car insurance company, if he has one.  Car insurance usually covers you as a pedestrian or bicyclist as well.  He will likely have medpay coverage available as well as the ability to make an uninsurance claim.  Consult a lawyer.  That's usually free.

robartsd

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Re: Am I legally responsible for Hospital bill?
« Reply #36 on: July 25, 2016, 01:42:09 PM »
as well as the ability to make an uninsurance claim.
Would "uninsured motorist" coverage apply in a case where the "uninsured motorist" is a hit and run cyclist? Would it also apply if the injury had been caused by a person on a skateboard, in a wheelchair, running?

iris lily

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Re: Am I legally responsible for Hospital bill?
« Reply #37 on: July 25, 2016, 03:03:51 PM »
Why are you paying anything?

Surely the person in control of the bicycle at the time who hit your son should be paying?
That makes all kinds of assumptions, one being that the responsibility has been identified.

My friend was walking  and was hit by a car in  an intersection. Hospital bill:$ 240,000. The car owner had $25,000 in liability insurance.

Oh yeah, my friend has no medical insurance.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2016, 03:05:51 PM by iris lily »

Daleth

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Re: Am I legally responsible for Hospital bill?
« Reply #38 on: July 25, 2016, 04:04:05 PM »
Given the fact that he is on my insurance, does this make me legally responsible for the bill?
I ask because If I'm not responsible, I'll use that as part of my negotiation to reduce the bill further.

Yes, but it's akin to being a co-signer on a bad loan.  They can come after you should he simply stop making payments, but since it's a medical debt, they can't go after either of you so long as he is paying something monthly.  You do still have a strong negotiating position anyway, though.  I've negotiated large medical bills down about 20% several times, and I was the most directly responsible individual on the plan anyway.

I kinda doubt that, actually. Who contracted with the doctor (in other words, who agreed to pay the doctor in return for medical treatment)? The patient, not the patient's dad. The fact that the patient's dad is who contracted with the insurer should be irrelevant, because it's not the insurance contract that made the patient liable for the bill--it's the contract with the doctor.

cchrissyy

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Re: Am I legally responsible for Hospital bill?
« Reply #39 on: July 25, 2016, 05:31:48 PM »
Since you are not legally obligated to pay your adult son's bill, I think the best way to get it reduced and paid off is for HIM to take the phone calls. Not you.

That way, rather than you offering to pay some negotiated figure, the hospital hears from his own mouth how little he can afford. Let him negotiate it down or see if they'll drop it, it's a good learning experience for him, even if in the end you reimburse him for whatever had to be paid.

Blonde Lawyer

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Re: Am I legally responsible for Hospital bill?
« Reply #40 on: July 25, 2016, 08:09:12 PM »
as well as the ability to make an uninsurance claim.
Would "uninsured motorist" coverage apply in a case where the "uninsured motorist" is a hit and run cyclist? Would it also apply if the injury had been caused by a person on a skateboard, in a wheelchair, running?

Good point.  I read quickly and was just thinking about how he was hit as a pedestrian.  I'm not sure if his UIM would cover getting hit by a bicyclist.

Daleth

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Re: Am I legally responsible for Hospital bill?
« Reply #41 on: July 26, 2016, 09:57:15 AM »
If you didn't sign as a guarantor at the hospital, then you aren't liable.

If he was still a covered adult under her insurance, then she was the guarantor as a matter of law.  That is not to say that she doesn't have a strong negotiating position, but she is legally liable if the hospital were to consider legal action a viable option.  Again, it's similar to being a co-signer on a loan.  If she had canceled his coverage as an adult, and forced him to pursue an independent policy, then she would not have been liable; but the Affordable Care Act extended the age that an adult child may be covered by the 'rents policy, should the parents desire it, to 25 IIRC.  The idea was to better cover college students, who are notorious for not getting medical coverage.

"We’ve written before that parents are usually responsible for their minor children’s medical expenses....  But the medical bills of an adult child? That may be another matter, says attorney David L. Trueman. “Even though it is dependent coverage, it is separate coverage” (and the) “primary insured is not a guarantor,” he says, unless they sign a form agreeing to be responsible for bills not covered by insurance.

In other words, just because you keep your adult children on your health insurance, that doesn’t mean you will have to foot their medical bills.... In the meantime, Stephanie will want to reach out to the companies who are trying to collect from her. She can send them certified letters explaining that her son is an adult, and she is not financially responsible for his bills."

http://abcnews.go.com/Business/keeping-kids-insurance-hurt-credit/story?id=24969763

GuitarStv

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Re: Am I legally responsible for Hospital bill?
« Reply #42 on: July 28, 2016, 07:36:32 AM »
It's stories like this that make me jealous of other countries where you can just go to the hospital and not waste mental energy on dealing with your health insurer, car insurer, the hospital, a debt collector, and anyone else in the medical complex.  Just imagine how much time and money is wasted in order to be in poorer health than other countries.  It's truly disgusting.  It also makes me angry that people use a medical bill as a "first offer" and negotiate it down all the time.  Because of this, it makes the prices higher for everyone else who is able to pay their bills on time.

As a Canadian, it's always kinda trippy reading about the byzantine US approach to health care.

BTDretire

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Re: Am I legally responsible for Hospital bill?
« Reply #43 on: July 28, 2016, 07:54:16 PM »
  It also makes me angry that people use a medical bill as a "first offer" and negotiate it down all the time.  Because of this, it makes the prices higher for everyone else who is able to pay their bills on time.
  Yep, and my son's bill was higher because some people pay nothing.
I teased out one item where they padded one of the charges. I followed up on
some of the medical billing numbers. The laceration on his head, if you wanted to
give the benefit of doubt was all of 1.5 inches long, the medical billing number
was for sewing up a 3 to 6 inch laceration. I did look up the price difference but I don't remember anymore.
  btw, The ambulance and hospital bills were all paid within 30 days of getting the bill. The doctors charges were not, only because they sent the bill to the wrong address, which they admitted. The collection agency sent their bill to my home in my sons name. The hospital could have done the same. (Odd that the hospital bill was received within 30 days of the doctors collection agency bill.)
  The hospital bill was the only one that was negotiated.
 It is tough for the layman to know where else they padded the bill. I question the leg Xray,
he had a cut, he had no thoughts that it was broke. But I understand the need to cover their
a$$ just in case.
  I once went to the emergency room with a wood chip stuck in my eyeball, the doc used a hypodermic needle to pick it out. Then said I needed an Xray to make sure their was no metal in my eye. (huh) I should have said no, my eye felt fine after he removed the log from it! :-).
 The Xray was more CYA at my expense or padding.



paddedhat

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Re: Am I legally responsible for Hospital bill?
« Reply #44 on: July 30, 2016, 05:05:49 PM »
It's stories like this that make me jealous of other countries where you can just go to the hospital and not waste mental energy on dealing with your health insurer, car insurer, the hospital, a debt collector, and anyone else in the medical complex.  Just imagine how much time and money is wasted in order to be in poorer health than other countries.  It's truly disgusting. It also makes me angry that people use a medical bill as a "first offer" and negotiate it down all the time.  Because of this, it makes the prices higher for everyone else who is able to pay their bills on time.

Damn, if there was an award for misplaced anger, you would be giving your acceptance speech for this comment.

 You negotiate a bill "down" because the provider is actively trying to fuck you over. It's real simple, if you are being directly billed by hospital, or most providers in the US, they are attempting to fuck you over, since that is how the game is played.  There are recently documented investigations where for profit hospitals are routinely marking procedures up by 1000% over cost, when billing patients, and tripling or quadrupling the actual cost of the work is pretty normal.  Now obviously insurers and Medicare have very little interest in all of these fantasy bills, since they have already agreed to pay a tiny fraction of those amounts. Buy YOU not only get the fantasy bill, but they actually hope that you are stupid, or gullible enough to pay in full!  A few years ago, my wife was deathly ill after a recently implanted medical device caused a raging infection, and required emergency surgery to remove the thing. She spent six days as an inpatient, and generated a $66K fantasy bill for hospital services alone, no specialists, surgeons, or surgical billing .  Blue Cross paid the hospital less than 15% of the fantasy bill, and the hospital accepted $8600 as being paid in full. Going by your thinking, it would be perfectly acceptable to be billed the $66K as an uninsured patient, and then spent the next decade making $550/month payments to the hospital, so they can reap a 700% profit on your suffering? Sorry, but I didn't sign up to be a martyr for any organization that pays their CEO a seven figure salary, and wastes million in frills and silliness every time they build, or remodel anything. Which is SOP for any of the regional "non-profit" hospital systems in my area.  Regrettably, as a personal note, the last 2-1/2 decades have been full of family health disasters that generated over a million dollars worth of "fantasy bills" and I have had a front row seat to watch how the whole scam plays out. I have told medical billing departments to fuck off, and I have ended up in front of a small claims judge when I made it doubly clear that the billing department can fuck off, but I have never allowed my family's finances to suffer so that I could find a way to pay for outrageous over-billing, and I never will.
As for the financial damage for refusing to be a victim of medical billing, and refusing to pay tens of thousands in outrageous overbillings? Absolutely nothing. My credit score is 825ish, my wife's usually runs a few points higher. Every few years a scumbag provider will ding her credit and it will drop a few points, which means absolutely nothing to either of us. Do whatever you need to, but paying three, four or ten times the value of services provided, since you feel that it's some noble obligation, is about as dumb as it gets.

G-dog

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Re: Am I legally responsible for Hospital bill?
« Reply #45 on: July 30, 2016, 05:23:55 PM »
Thanks for the perspective Paddedhat - sorry your family has had so many medical issues.

So, how do you handle this?
You have insurance - you just tell the vendor to accept the insurance as full payment?
If you don't have insurance - refuse to pay, or start out negotiating.

One of the REALLY irritTing parts is how long it takes to get ANY BILLS. I have insurance - so they just wave me out of the office. Went early in May - I haven't seen any bill yet. Fuckers.

paddedhat

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Re: Am I legally responsible for Hospital bill?
« Reply #46 on: July 30, 2016, 06:35:04 PM »
Thanks for the perspective Paddedhat - sorry your family has had so many medical issues.

So, how do you handle this?
You have insurance - you just tell the vendor to accept the insurance as full payment?
If you don't have insurance - refuse to pay, or start out negotiating.

One of the REALLY irritTing parts is how long it takes to get ANY BILLS. I have insurance - so they just wave me out of the office. Went early in May - I haven't seen any bill yet. Fuckers.

The back story is of my wife who suffer a stroke like event that left her permanently paralyzed on her left side, and prior to that, a daughter who was a "super-preemie" at 25 weeks, and one pound, seven ounces.  The real shocker was that the wife has a public school covered insurance policy that is beyond any current definition of a "Cadillac" plan, and we still had to do repeated battles with providers that are just flat out out of control. When the wife had her brain injury she was transported (needlessly) by a life flight helicopter. The insurance paid a very generous amount for the flight, and the hospital wanted over twice as much. No discussion, they planned on pocketing a $4-6K profit for using the chopper, end of story, pay up, or else. At that point they were billing more for a ten minute, stable patient transport, than the going rate was to book a 747 for an hour. The insurance company refuses to pay the ridiculous bill and sent us a check for their final payment, to be signed and handed over to the hospital. In the end, I had to stand in front of a small claims judge, since the hospital sued us. I explained to the judge that option #1 was for the hospital to accept the check as payment in full, and we would call it a day. Option two was for me to rip the check up, and the hospital could go fuck themselves. The hospital took the check. Over the next 20+ years, there have been countless other battles like this.  For some reason these clowns think that they can bill the insurance co. and get paid at a reasonable rate, and that you will bend over and take it, when they want to bill you for absolutely criminal amounts for any balances. Our latest was another ambulance service. The insurer dropped the ball and paid 80% of an absolutely criminal bill from an out of state provider. My experience has been that a local "in network" provider would of seen about a third of this "fantasy bill", but the insurer dropped their guard on this one.  The company then tried to bill me for the balance. The provider agreed that they would happily accept 75% of their original bill, of which they got 80%. They then wanted $700 from me, when they billed $3400 for a twenty minute, patient transport, and got a fat check for $2700. Not a code red, OMFG, we almost lost the patient ride, but a "oh, hell this one could of taken a taxi" grade transport. They made a fucking fortune on the deal, and they still wanted to fuck me for the balance. They sent me a bill with a $106 charge for the EKG stickies that they clip the leads to.  The EXACT same ones I pay  $0.75 a piece for,  delivered to my door.  In the end they didn't get a dime from me. The whole situation is absolutely sickening, and I certainly hope that any member here fights like a rabid Honey Badger, any time this problem rears it's ugly head in their personal life.  Screw this " I got them to cut the bill by 25%" nonsense. These shit eating, low life, morally defective bastards are STILL making 2-3X the cost of services provided when they give you a generous 25% discount. Hire a lawyer, pay them $5 a month, declare bankruptcy, whatever it takes, but don't let them rob you to keep feeding the monster.

G-dog

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Re: Am I legally responsible for Hospital bill?
« Reply #47 on: July 30, 2016, 07:08:05 PM »
Thanks for your tenacity.

They count on us not paying attention, not being able to decipher their mumbo-jumbo, not remembering the details when the bill(s) finally arrive, not knowing what their mark-up is, not wanting to do the research, phone calls, etc. to follow-up......

So, you are one awesome honey badger!

paddedhat

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Re: Am I legally responsible for Hospital bill?
« Reply #48 on: July 31, 2016, 05:51:19 AM »
Understanding the bill can be one of the biggest issues.

The incident I referenced with the $66K bill that netted the hospital $8.6K was a classic example. This was a surgery that was done a total of three times, in a short time frame, due to a truly talented, and competent surgeon who admitted that he flat out screwed up.  The first time there were no billing issues for the actual surgery. The second time an office employee of the surgical group used a wrong code, and it was rejected as "experimental" by the insurer.  The following few months we so bizarre that it was laughable. The surgical group was owned by he hospital, who did the billing. They sent me a bill for $8K for the surgeon, since the insurer refused to pay. I then contacted the insurer, who very cleanly detailed the situation for me. The provider used an odd code, it wasn't legitimate and was in fact a claim for an experimental procedure, and they would be happy to pay when it was corrected. The insurer was in total agreement that they were responsible for the charge, but rules are rules, and when you bill for experimental procedures, you don't get paid. They helpfully offered all the proper code info. based on the same surgery they had done a few weeks prior, and paid in full. As expected, the hospital was arrogant and unwilling to deal with the problem. First, I was told that I was wrong, and didn't have the correct info. I responded that I was reporting exactly what the insurer told me that they needed, which was, oddly enough, how you got promptly paid the last time. The next few weeks were wasted waiting for the hospital to "review the situation", as they did absolutely nothing. The billing continued, and by this point the anesthesiologist is getting stiffed for his fantasy $4k bill, since the insurer won't pay that either. Their office is trying to tell me that the coding error isn't their problem, and that they expect me to cut them a check. I then have to break the news that it is their problem. They did business with the surgeon, not my wife, and the surgeons office is incapable of billing correctly, so they will get paid, some day, when the hospital decides to correct the problem.

The hospital absolutely refuses to address the issue, and even goes so far as to claim that asking the surgeon to correct his error would be illegal, since it would be fraud to correct it. After four months of this bullshit, I grow tired of the game, and lay out the fact to a senior employee of the billing department. I calmly tell her that, first, I will NEVER pay the $8K they are billing, nor will my insurer.  Second, if they continue acting this stupid, we will end up in front of a judge, and I will be a very unpleasant experience, as I have extremely detailed documentation on everything. Finally, I recommended that she take a moment to reflect on exactly how it's going to look when I lay out the case..................Specifically, the fact that, at this point they had done the exact same procedure three times in less than eight months. Two of three times the surgeon was paid promptly, due to the use of proper coding, and paid less than 25% of the fantasy bill. Instead of engaging in rational behavior and sound business conduct,  they refuse to address the issue, refuse to correct an obvious and indisputable error, and  are attempting to damage my wife's credit, and steal six thousand dollars is excess profit from her.  I then asked if they REALLY wanted to continue with this battle?

I get the usual, "let me look into it, and I'll get back to you" bullshit. A few weeks later the EOB comes, the insurer pays roughly a quarter of the surgeon's and anesthesiologist's bills. Everybody is paid in full, and we wait for the next screwing.

AlwaysLearningToSave

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Re: Am I legally responsible for Hospital bill?
« Reply #49 on: August 01, 2016, 08:26:01 AM »
When the wife had her brain injury she was transported (needlessly) by a life flight helicopter. The insurance paid a very generous amount for the flight, and the hospital wanted over twice as much. No discussion, they planned on pocketing a $4-6K profit for using the chopper, end of story, pay up, or else. At that point they were billing more for a ten minute, stable patient transport, than the going rate was to book a 747 for an hour. The insurance company refuses to pay the ridiculous bill and sent us a check for their final payment, to be signed and handed over to the hospital. In the end, I had to stand in front of a small claims judge, since the hospital sued us. I explained to the judge that option #1 was for the hospital to accept the check as payment in full, and we would call it a day. Option two was for me to rip the check up, and the hospital could go fuck themselves. The hospital took the check.

Air ambulance services are the worst.  I have friends in real life whose child had a medical emergency requiring a life flight.  The drive time between hospitals is about an hour, so the flight had to have been fast.  The only helicopter available was out of network for their health insurer.  My understanding (though I have not verified this) is that medicare/medicaid would have paid $5-6k for the flight but our friends had private health insurance.  Their health insurer cut a check for $18k (!), which is what the insurer would have paid one of its in-network air ambulances.  My friends paid the $18k to the ambulance company but did not stipulate that it was payment in full for the services (which is a terrible strategic move but the friends didn't know any better at the time).  The air ambulance company then balance billed the family $40,000 and dragged them through a year-long collections ordeal.  It wasn't until the friends threatened bankruptcy and started contacting media about their ordeal that ambulance company backed off and forgave the balance of the bill.  Its a sad day when the only way they will drop an outrageous bill is the threat of bad press coupled with the realization that the bankruptcy case would leave no assets for the creditor.  The moral of the story: when you are dealing with out of network providers, do not pay a dime until you've reached an agreement that the payment rendered is being accepted as payment in full. 

Apparently the Federal Aviation Act preempts state laws attempting to regulate air ambulance fees.  Thus, any attempt to address air ambulance billing practices would require an act of Congress-- and we all know how unlikely that is to occur.