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Debt collection prohibited

Workers' compensation claims have a lot of moving parts, especially when visiting multiple healthcare providers. Inevitably, you will incur travel expenses as you attend exams and appointments. An employer, through their insurer, is on the hook for covering expenses that resulted from the work injury including, but not limited to: surgical, chiropractic, rehabilitation, ambulance services, as well as reasonable and necessary travel to and from any such medical facility. Additionally, other medical equipment (e.g. canes, walkers, etc.) should be covered as well.

Depending on the type of injury and/or diagnosis, an injured worker's medical bills will accumulate quickly. So what happens if your insurance company disputes all or part of your medical bills? Your medical providers will certainly want to be paid for their services. 

When an insurer believes certain treatment, services or medical supplies are not reasonable or necessary, they may deny payment for all or part of them. The medical facility will then demand the unpaid portion be paid by the injured worker. However, they are not allowed to conduct their debt collection practices when there is a disagreement about what is covered-they can only provide you with an itemization.

Disputed charges can be brought to the compensation commissioner to decide what is reasonable or necessary. The commissioner will also decide if the insurer is liable for the entire amount, a specific portion or none at all. Medical service providers have agreed to be bound by the commissioner's decision and to accept payment as he or she orders.

In the event a medical provider does conduct debt collection practices after they received notice that the fees are contested, then the employee can seek remedies. Regardless of where your case is in the process, it's wise to speak to a seasoned workers' compensation attorney, especially if you have received debt collection notices from a provider. 

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