Obamacare And Personal Injury Claims

The speculation is wide as The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, often called “Obamacare” comes closer to implementation.  How will coverage for all affect personal injury claims, old injuries from accidents in the past and the number of medical malpractice claims?  Here are some of the thoughts and reasoning behind how Obamacare could affect your accident injury claim.

 

FUTURE TREATMENT FOR PAST INJURIES

If you suffered a personal injury and your case has been closed, your injury may currently be treated as a pre exsisting condition.  However,  under Obamacare, there are no pre-existing conditions that are exempt from coverage by your plan, so old injury flareups will be covered under your Affordable Care Act insurance policy.

MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CLAIMS

Many law professionals believe that the number of medical malpractice claims will increase as a flood of patients, previously uninsured, visit the hospitals for surgery and medical assistance they previously couldn’t afford.  It is estimated that 20 – 40 million Americans, previously uninsured, will now have coverage once the Affordable Care Act goes into effect in 2014 or 2015.

Most medical malpractice claims comes from overworked staff and lack of resources and time to research the patients history before performing procedures.  With this sudden influx of patients, we may see an increase in claims in the first 6 – 12 months of coverage.

Did you know that under Obamacare, the Obama administration is authorized to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to address an anticipated shortage of primary care doctors.  Three months after President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act, the Health and Human Services Department announced it would spend $250 million “to increase the number of health care providers and strengthen the primary care workforce.”

MEDICAL EXPENSES FOR PERSONAL INJURIES

Currently, there are significant differences in medical rates for someone insured versus someone uninsured.  So, if you are in an auto accident or any personal injury incident and are uninsured, your bills will be significantly higher than someone with insurance who receives a reduced rate.

This has a significant affect on recovery settlements in personal injury.  If you are uninsured, the majority of your settlement will likely go towards covering your huge pile of medical bills.

However, with the new Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act this will change.  Act 26 USC section 501(r)(5)  requires any hospital that seeks 501(c)(3) non-profit status to limit the amounts it charges to patients eligible for assistance under the hospital’s financial assistance policy  to no more than the amounts the hospital “generally billed to individuals who have insurance covering such care.”

Under the new laws, hospitals will not be able to overcharge some while undercharging others.  This will most likely allow more of the injury claim settlement to go to the injured party.