David Vtipil spoke as a webinar panelist today to the North Carolina Chiropractic Association. His topics included the North Carolina medical lien statute and the “bill versus paid” statute. In particular he talked about how “bill versus paid” is changing the way attorneys and medical providers handle personal injury claims. This all came about as a result of recent tort reform that included an amended NC Rule of Evidence 414 which reads as follows:
“Evidence offered to prove past medical expenses shall be limited to evidence of the amounts actually paid to satisfy the bills that have been satisfied, regardless of the source of payment, and evidence of the amounts actually necessary to satisfy the bills that have been incurred but not yet satisfied. This rule does not impose upon any party an affirmative duty to seek a reduction in billed charges to which the party is not contractually entitled.”
Under this and the revised N.C.G.S. § 8-58.1, the insurance companies now argue that they should reap the benefit of an injured person’s foresight to have health insurance. Without taking into consideration the premiums the injured person paid to have this health insurance, the insurance companies now can argue they get the benefit of any adjustments or write-offs that the medical provider had to take when they received health insurance payments. In essence, the insurance company gets all of the benefit of the health insurance without having to pay for the premiums.
This new law will be challenged on a constitutional basis, but until the courts render a final decision consumers who are negligently injured will suffer.