Changes to State Law Offer Better Protections for Personal Injury Victims
Effective January 1, 2014, Texas House Bill 1869 (HB1869) went into effect. The bill, signed in to law by Governor Rick Perry in May 2013, ushers in greater protections for people who have suffered a personal injury.
To understand the positive changes HB1869 makes for individuals covered by private health insurers in the state of Texas, it is first important to know a little about the law as it exists currently and something called subrogation.
Subrogation is a method used by health insurers to effectively recoup healthcare expenditures from their clients. If you have been a victim of a personal injury accident and you receive medical treatment as a result, subrogation means that your insurance company can place a lien against any damages you collect in a resulting personal injury lawsuit to recover for the cost of your medical treatment. Thus, if you get into an accident and receive treatment totaling $40,000 and a court later awards you damages in the amount of $50,000 from another party involved in that accident, your insurance company can swoop in and lay claim to $40,000 of that claim.
Subrogation reform via HB 1869 places strict limits on the amount your health insurance provider can recoup through a personal injury lawsuit. It stipulates that insurers cannot take more than half of your compensation, regardless of how much the insurance company had to spend providing you with healthcare and no matter how much you receive as the result of a personal injury suit resulting from that incident.
It is important to note that HB 1869 does not affect all health insurance policies. If you are unsure about whether HB 1869 applies to your policy, it is important to contact your insurer and carefully review your policy. It might also be in your best interests to speak with a knowledgeable Houston personal injury lawyer.