Why hospitals now have to share treatment prices (and how it helps you after an accident)
One reason people don’t go to the hospital after an accident is the high cost of medical care. Even with good health insurance, many people can’t handle the out-of-pocket expenses that come with an emergency room visit, MRI scan, or surgery. And, most people can’t predict how expensive a medical bill will be because hospitals do not normally share treatment costs publicly.
Important note to remember: if you have health insurance, tell the hospital you want to bill your health insurance, NOT your auto insurance. (See our articles about Medical Payments Coverage, also known as Medpay).
Good news: as of January 1, 2021, not knowing how expensive a medical bill will be is no longer the case. A new “Hospital Price Transparency Rule” from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) requires hospitals to publicly post prices of medical care. These prices must be shared online and be easy to find by the public.
This rule is a good first step, but know that many hospitals are ignoring the “transparency” side of the rule and either posting incomplete information or making the information so hard to find on the Internet that you cannot find it.
Here at GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys, we want all accident victims to get care as fast as possible without being burdened with hefty medical bills. This new rule is a step toward helping patients get the medical care they need after a car accident.
But, we know that you may still have concerns about paying for your treatment, and that’s why we want to share information about how to get the best deals on medical care and how to get your bills covered:
What information do hospitals have to share with patients?
Under the CMS’s new rules, hospitals must share “clear, accessible pricing information” about medical treatment in an easy-to-read format. This list of treatments must include at least 300 standard treatments, ranging from colonoscopies to x-rays to outpatient visits, and include standard prices, negotiated rates with health insurance providers, and discounted rates for uninsured patients who pay in cash. This information must be publicly posted on a hospital’s website and be easy for patients to find.
If a hospital fails to post these prices, the CMS can fine it $300 a day, and the agency is currently performing audits of all hospitals in the United States to ensure that they are complying with the Transparency Rule.
How does this help me after an accident?
It’s always important to listen to your doctor’s recommendations and get treatment after a car accident. But knowing how much your treatment will cost is important to planning a budget for your medical care, especially if you need long-term treatment. Under this rule, you can now compare prices among different hospitals to find the best deals on medical care, which gives you more control over your treatment and related costs.
For example, if your doctor determines that you need a procedure after a car accident, you can search hospitals in your area to find the best prices. You can also better understand the costs of important medical tests you may need after a crash and discuss them with your doctor
Do Virginia hospitals post medical prices?
Many Virginia hospitals have started sharing medical prices with patients, and the Virginia Hospital Information (VHI) website has a pricing tool that allows you to see the average rate for treatment in major regions across the state, including here in Eastern Virginia.
Examples of hospitals that are sharing medical prices include:
- Riverside Walter Reed Hospital, a staple of Gloucester County, has publicly posted medical prices for important treatments, including hospitalizations, tests, and emergency room visits.
- Sentara Healthcare, which includes Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center, allows patients to download a price list of common medical services.
- Cumberland Hospital for Children and Adolescents has shared medical costs for treatments related to child brain injuries and neurological injuries.
Who should I talk to about my car accident?
Knowing how much a car accident will cost you is only half the battle. The next steps are actually healing, and then getting your medical bills paid. Our team at GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys has met hundreds of our neighbors throughout Eastern Virginia and beyond who needed important medical care after a crash.
My partner, Ken Gibson, and I know firsthand what it’s like to be an injury victim. So we bring empathy and compassion to every client. If your injuries were caused by a negligent driver, we as Virginia injury attorneys can fight to get you full compensation for your injuries.
We’ve experienced the frustrations our clients face — pain, suffering, fear, difficulty dealing with insurance companies, and the pressure to settle without a lawyer. That’s why we do everything possible to make the legal process easy for our clients, so they can focus on getting better and getting their life back.
We know you are worried about paying your medical bills, which is why we do not charge for our initial consultation. Instead, we sit down with you, listen to what happened to you, and explain your options under the law. We also work on a contingency fee basis – meaning there is no cost to hiring us, unless we win your claim. Call us today at (804) 413-6777 or toll-free at (855) 781-6777 and tell us what happened in your free consultation.
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Prevention, empathy, and diligence are hallmarks of everything we do at GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys. Our community can see these ideals lived out in our work to prevent personal injuries from happening.
- Safety Education
GibsonSingleton launches a “Texts=Wrecks” campaign to reduce the number of people injured or killed by distracted drivers.
- Annual Coat Drive
During the fall, our team works to distribute coats to people in need in our community.
- Hands-on Service
John and Ken join the Gloucester Point Rotary Club in cleaning up the community.
- Supporting Local Schools
The Gibson family participates in Gloucester’s Botetourt Elementary Shuffle fundraiser.