Medical billing is often a complex and confusing process, causing anxiety for patients trying to keep up with their bills. Fortunately, medical providers only have a certain amount of time to collect outstanding medical debts.
In Arkansas, medical providers only have three years to bill you for services. However, determining when that three-year time limit starts can be difficult. You want to be sure of exactly what you owe and when, as ignoring a medical bill can result in legal action taken against you. If you believe your medical billing is past due, you can raise the three-year time limit as a defense to paying the debt.
For a free case review with our Arkansas personal injury attorneys, contact us today at (479) 316-0438.
How Much Time Does a Medical Provider Have to Bill Me in Arkansas?
Many individuals who have been involved in accidents in Arkansas are often left with unresolved medical bills. However, the good news is that there is a limited amount of time within which medical providers and debt collectors can seek payment for services rendered. According to Ark. Code. § 16-56-106, medical debts in Arkansas are subject to a statute of limitations of three years.
Essentially, this means that a medical provider or debt collector cannot seek payment for a medical bill after three years from the date the medical services were provided. If a medical provider is billing you for a debt they cannot legally collect, our Fort Smith, AR personal injury lawyers can help you fight it. The three-year clock begins ticking from when the service was provided or partial payment was made. Before you make any payment towards such a debt, it is crucial to ensure that it is legally enforceable, due, and payable.
If you are being pursued by a debt collector in Arkansas for medical debt, it is important to be aware of the statute of limitations. This legal defense can be raised if the medical provider or debt collector decides to escalate their collection efforts and files a lawsuit. However, it is important to note that the burden of proof is on you to raise the statute of limitations as a defense in court.
If a judge determines that you are not obligated to pay the debt, the debt collector cannot pursue wage garnishment or request that the court freeze your assets. This can be beneficial to you, but it can be detrimental to the debt collector. As a result, medical providers and debt collectors might try to keep you in the dark about the statute of limitations. It is important to be informed and understand your legal rights when it comes to medical debt in Arkansas.
What is Surprise Billing in Arkansas?
When receiving emergency care or getting treated by an out-of-network healthcare provider at an in-network hospital or ambulatory surgical center, you are protected from surprise billing or balanced billing. Surprise billing is an unforeseen balance bill that can catch you off guard. This can happen when you are unable to control who is involved in your care, such as during an emergency or when you schedule a visit at an in-network facility but are unexpectedly treated by an out-of-network provider.
When you see a doctor or any other healthcare provider, you might be subject to certain out-of-pocket costs, including copayments, coinsurance, or a deductible. If you visit a healthcare provider or facility that is not within your health plan’s network, you might have to pay additional costs or the entire bill out of pocket. It is important to understand the terms of your healthcare plan to avoid any unexpected costs.
If you receive medical services from an out-of-network provider, you might be subject to this practice. This means you might be billed for the difference between what your health plan has agreed to pay and the full amount charged for the service. It is worth noting that this amount is likely more than what you would pay for the same service from an in-network provider, and it might not count toward your annual out-of-pocket limit.
However, you are only responsible for paying your share of the cost, such as copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles, just as you would if the provider or facility were in-network. It is the responsibility of your health plan to pay out-of-network providers and facilities directly. Of course, all of these rules and regulations are still subject to the three-year limitation on medical billing described above.
How Do Medical Providers Bill Patients in Arkansas?
When you receive medical services from a medical provider in Arkansas, you probably wonder how they determine the charges and bill you for the services rendered. The process typically involves the following steps:
When you go for a medical consultation or treatment, the healthcare provider will first verify your health insurance coverage to determine if it falls under the in-network or out-of-network category with your insurance company. This crucial step is taken to ensure that you and the healthcare provider have a clear understanding of the extent of your coverage, as well as any out-of-pocket expenses that you might have to bear, such as co-payments or deductibles.
By double-checking your insurance information, you can rest assured that your rights are being protected and that you are receiving the benefits you are entitled to.
Submitting Your Claim
After you receive medical services, the healthcare provider will send a claim to your insurance company with a detailed report of the services provided. The report will include information such as the diagnosis, procedures done, and associated costs of the services rendered.
Process Your Insurance
After you file a claim with your insurance company, they will carefully review it and determine how much they will cover based on the specific terms and conditions outlined in your policy. This process takes into account numerous factors, including deductibles, copayments, and coverage limits.
Once the insurance company has approved the claim, they will then issue payment to the medical provider for the approved amount. Keep in mind that the process can vary depending on the specific policy and insurance company involved.
Explanation of Your Benefits and Responsibilities
Once the insurance company has fulfilled its obligation, you will receive a comprehensive explanation of benefits (EOB) statement that will break down the amount covered and non-covered by the insurance. However, any unpaid balance directly falls under your responsibility to settle with the healthcare provider.
Our Arkansas Personal Injury Attorneys Are Here to Help
Call us at (479) 316-0438 to receive your free case assessment with our Fayetteville, AR personal injury lawyers.