By Jill Bollwerk
Your health insurance company may be bugging the heck out of you by sending you letter, after letter, after letter, explaining what they have paid on your medical bills. These forms are generally called "Explanation of Benefits" forms, or "EOBs" for short. If you have been in an auto accident, these letters may be coming daily. Some folks just throw them away---DON'T DO THAT! Those documents cam be very helpful to your Missouri personal injury attorney.
The EOB is helpful to your attorney in many ways. First, your EOBs should show ALL medical charges that the health insurer paid. This can be helpful because sometimes, clients don't know about some medical charges. For instance, you may tell your attorney that you went to a particular hospital, so your attorney orders the bills and records from the hospital. However, the doctor, lab and radiologist might all bill separately from the hospital, and you might not realize that unless you have seen your EOBs. These little forms can help the attorney make sure he or she gathers ALL of your medical bills so that he or she is not missing any charges that should be claimed as part of your case.
Second, the EOBs can be helpful if you have a health plan that requires reimbursement for the amounts they have paid from whatever you receive (in settlement or at trial) from the other driver's insurance company. Some health plans have a valid right of reimbursement, while others do not. You should seek the advice of a Missouri auto accident attorney if you have a health plan that is seeking reimbursement, as the plan may or may not be entitled to do so. If it is determined that you have a health plan with a valid right of reimbursement, then these EOBs can help you and your attorney keep track of just how much the health plan has paid, so you won't be surprised when the health plan makes its reimbursement claim.
Third, the EOBs can be important if your case is headed to trial because, in some Missouri cases, the judge may allow the jury to hear not only the total amount of your medical bills, but also, the amount that was actually paid on those bills. In other words, the jury may get to hear that your total medical bills are $10,000.00, but the total you had to pay (between you and your insurance company) is only $6,000.00. The EOBs are very helpful in this circumstance, because the EOB should list the total amount of the bill, the amount insurance paid, and the amount you had to pay on that bill.
In summary, if you have had an auto accident and your health insurance company has paid any of your bills, don't throw away those pesky EOBs. Your attorney will thank you for saving them!