Hidden Traps in the Scheduled Release
The four hidden rip-offs in the scheduled release are as follows:
- Improper time limit for medical expense coverage — Scheduled releases typically limit the insurer’s obligation to pay for medical expenses to a period of six to twelve months following the accident. They actually owe for accident-related medical care for the rest of your life. They get these early agreements so that they can later deny payment of valid medical expenses incurred after the deadline imposed by the scheduled release.
- Unfair dollar limit on medical expense obligation — Adjusters seeking scheduled releases are trained to offer an apparently reasonable dollar amount for future medical expenses, which would not include specialized care or any payment for unforeseen medical problems or chronic symptoms. The at-fault driver and his or her insurance carriers owe the full cost of all accident-related medical care over the patient’s lifetime. While you may agree to accept a lower sum later, you should never put a cap and barrier on the insurance company’s financial obligations for the full cost of all medical treatment ultimately required.
- Small print “reasonable charge” restriction — If you sign a scheduled release and present medical bills that fall within the dollar value restriction, insurance carriers commonly red-line the bills and refuse to pay the full amount of your medical charges. They rely on small print in the scheduled release contract, which states that the insurance carrier only owes “reasonable” medical charges. When you present your bills for payment, they will compare billed amounts to their internally prepared list of approved and reasonable charges. If they disagree with your doctor’s charges, they refuse to pay the full amount of your medical bills. Essentially, this takes back the small amount of money you received when you signed the scheduled release agreement.
- Small print “necessary charge” restriction — Insurance carriers also refuse full payment of medical expenses by questioning the true need for medical care. For example, if you have physical therapy three times per week, they may argue that only two visits were “necessary.” They then simply refuse payment for care that they conclude was not necessary. Again, you receive significantly less than the full amount of your bills. Accident victims who sign these agreements often end up owing more for medical expenses than they received through the early, insufficient up-front payment.