Step 7: Obtaining a Lien
You have all your medical records and you’ve gone through them and know their contents. While you were treating, did you ever wonder how much all of your treatment cost your health insurance company? A lien will show you that.
Insurance typically covers most if not all of your treatment associated with your injury. If you had to pay anything out of pocket, you must pay and then keep the receipts of those transactions. These costs will factor into your demand. This helps boost the amount of money you’re asking for in order to settle the claim.
What do you mean by “lien”?
A lien in this context refers to an itemized billing statement from your insurance covering the treatment you had. In order to obtain it, call your health insurance company. Explain that you were injured and are looking to file a claim and need a medical lien in order to settle your claim. Most insurance companies will understand and will instruct you on what you must do in order to obtain it.
What most people do not know is that if you are injured in a car wreck and you make a recovery against the driver that hit you (or their insurance company), you are required to pay back all or part of the medical expenses that your health insurance company covered. In fact, your health insurance company, by law, has a lien on your recovery that equals the amount they paid for your treatment.
If your insurance is state-provided, you must complete any paperwork necessary and send it to the address on the form in order to obtain your lien. If you are a recipient of Medicare, you must call and follow their process to obtain it.
How Long Until I Get My Lien?
Liens can take some time to process. So, depending on how early you wish to start this process, you can ask for it early and then request an updated version when you complete your medical treatment. For example, Medicare is notoriously slow with processing liens, so sometimes it’s best to request the lien early and allow Medicare to take its time.
We list the lien request step later in the settle your own claim process, because a lien cannot be finalized until you are finished treating for your injuries. While a claim cannot be settled without a lien, it’s not as vital as obtaining your medical records. For example, it will take some time for the insurance company of the driver that hit you to evaluate your claim/demand package (at least thirty days) and during this time you can request a lien if you have not done so already.
Once you have the lien, you’re able to prepare your demand package. We will be covering, in-depth, drafting the demand package in the next section.