I see hundreds of cases a year and we are getting more and more Georgia notices of medical liens. This past week I noticed that we have received several Georgia Medical Lien notices filed by Feiler and Associates and Clinton Harkins on behalf of their medical provider clients against potential recoveries by my clients. There is nothing inherently wrong with that, but the problem is these clients all have health insurance! If you get notice of one of these liens being filed and you have health insurance, you need to call an Atlanta injury lawyer, immediately.
What we are finding is the hospitals are firing off these liens without bothering to bill the health insurance in pursuit of a higher dollar recovery for the hospital and in potential violation of the contract for health insurance. If you have valid health insurance and treat at a hospital or with a doctor as a result of a car accident, the hospital has to bill your health insurance pursuant to the contract unless; you have med pay on the vehicle you were riding in at the time of the crash. If there is med pay, your health insurance is a secondary payor and the hospital can bill the med pay first.
However, lawyers are now seeing situations where we have confirmed to the hospital that there is health insurance and no medpay and the hospitals are still filing liens. Even more outrageous is the situation where hospitals are refusing to send the bills to the client unless the client discloses who the at fault party’s insurance company is. Remember that the hospital cannot opt out of the health insurance contract so their attempts at placing a lien for a bill that would be paid by health insurance is a breach of the health insurance contract.
To combat this, I am now sending notice letters to the hospital with a copy of the client’s health insurance card so the hospital cannot claim it did not know about the health insurance later if it fails to bill within the health insurers notice requirements. Then if the hospital fails to bill and tries to enforce the lien, we will file suit against the hospital as a third party beneficiary of the contract to extinguish the lien. The medical providers are getting so belligerent in the practices that this will end up in the Court of Appeals before too long and I wonder what their defense will be to the claims of breach of contract? One thing is certain, if you are dealing with reimbursement issues, you will need the help of an injury attorney.