What You Should Know About Medical Debt And Workers’ Compensation
Since the end of the Great Recession, fees for medical services have increased dramatically. At the same time, the Supreme Court has removed some important protections from the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. In other words, job-related injury and illness bills are higher than ever. And, providers are more aggressive than ever when it comes to collecting on these accounts.
Usually, workers’ compensation insurance companies pay medical bills directly. If that does not happen, for whatever reason, there are two key opportunities for a Tampa fair debt lawyer to intervene. Attorneys usually send letters of protection to providers. These letters guarantee payment when the case is resolved. Alternatively, a Tampa workers’ compensation lawyer can stand up for your rights under the FDCPA. These approaches are valid in both primary medical bill areas.
Emergency Treatment Costs
Many people are largely unaware of how much healthcare services cost. The amount is just a line on an insurance form.
Usually, high medical bills begin piling up before victims reach hospitals. Surface transportation in an ambulance often costs thousands of dollars. For this reason, many non-emergency patients use Uber or Lyft in these situations. However, ridesharing usually is not an option for seriously-injured victims.
Helicopter medevacs are usually a lot more expensive. A short helicopter ride usually costs tens of thousands of dollars. Air evacuations are especially common if the victim was seriously hurt at a construction site in a remote area.
The average hospital stay in the Tampa Bay area costs about $3,000 a day. Urgent or intensive care stays are much higher. Many seriously injured victims must stay in the hospital for several days or even several weeks. Furthermore, setbacks are common during the recovery process. These setbacks often mean additional hospital stays.
Follow-up doctor visits are not nearly as expensive. However, they usually cost several hundred dollars apiece. These costs quickly add up. Other follow-up costs include prescription drugs and medical devices.
Physical Therapy Expenses
Medical bills do not end when doctors complete treatment. Fortunately, workers’ compensation benefits do not end at this time either. Thanks to a new law, the medical bill payment benefit lasts up to 104 weeks (two years).
That sounds like a long time. But many people cannot begin physical therapy for several months. These sessions usually last until victims reach their Maximum Medical Improvement. Frequently, MMI is 100 percent recovery. Other times, however, some lingering problems remain. For example, if Tim breaks his shoulder at work, he may never recover complete range of motion in the joint.
In these situations, either permanent disability payments or occupational therapy is usually available. Permanent disability compensates victims for their future lost wages. Occupational therapy teaches victims new trades, so they can keep working full speed.
Usually, if the victim reaches MMI at around fifty or seventy-five weeks, both options are available. If the victim reaches MMI later, only permanent disability might be an option. Things get really complex if the benefits run out and the victim has not yet reached MMI.
Reach Out to a Diligent Hillsborough County Attorney
Job injury victims have rights under the FDCPA. For a free consultation with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer in Tampa, contact Kobal Law. After-hours visits are available.