Posts Tagged ‘Hospital’

Do I need to pay the hospital bill?

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

I was in court yesterday and had the opportunity to listen to a number of cases where the hospital was bringing legal action against people for non-payment of hospital bills.

One was a very sad case where a woman had died and the hospital had filed suit against her son for payment of her bill.  As I’ve discussed before, children are not normally responsible for the payment of their parent’s bills.  However, in this case, the son had signed the hospital admittance form agreeing that he would be personally responsible for the bill.

There were also a number of cases where people said that they were still in discussions with the insurance company about how much the insurance company would pay.  Again, the people had signed the admittance forms saying that they would be responsible for payment.

You can pay a hospital bill yourself, even if you have insurance and a claim has been submitted.  If  you have already paid a bill and the insurance company then sends money to the hospital, you can talk to the hospital about getting a refund.  I’ve never personally seen a case where the hospital has refused to send a refund when a bill was overpaid.

Hiding from the bill and hoping it will go away isn’t really going to help you much.  Most hospitals that I have seen will work with you on a payment plan if you can’t afford to make the entire payment all at once.  This will help eliminate the legal fees that the hospital will pass on to you if they have to go to court to get payment.

Generally, by the time the hospital brings you to court for non-payment, your account is what is commonly called ‘seriously past due’ and the normal insurance payment process has not covered the costs and it is very likely that the costs will not be covered.  If you really think that the insurance company should have paid the bill and they did not, then your fight is with the insurance company, not the hospital that provided the care.

Bottom line?  If you sign the paperwork saying that you will be responsible for the bill, then it is your obligation to pay.

If you are not able to make any sort of payment arrangements, perhaps it is time for you to talk to an attorney about bankruptcy.

If you have any questions about this or any other legal subject, please feel free to give us a call at 757-234-4650 or visit our website at