Hire an Attorney You Don't Even Like

Marianne gave birth to twins last May and racked up high medical bills. She and her husband both work, and they each had HMO plans. Now the insurance companies are arguing over who should pay.

QUESTION: Marianne in Los Angeles gave birth to twins last May and racked up high medical bills. She and her husband both work, and they each had HMO plans. They went through a provider covered by Marianne’s insurance. They received a letter saying that the twins should have been covered through her husband’s insurance. Now the insurance companies are arguing over who should pay. Dave tells Marianne she needs an attorney.

ANSWER: You need an attorney who specializes in this, because there’s so much money on the table that these insurance companies are going to be skunks, and they’re going to do everything they can to get out of paying the bill they owe. You’re going to have to beat them in the face with an attorney. You’re just going to have to pound them. Just hit them with a board right in the face. Spending the next five years of your life fighting this will cost a pretty penny too—trying to do it on your own without expertise and without scaring the crud out of them.

The bottom line is these people have to be threatened into submission, and they may have to be sued into submission. If they can prove the other company’s primary, it makes them $1 million. They’ve got a lot to fight for. For you, it’s your children, and it’s a moral thing. For them, it’s $1 million. They’re saying, “Hey, we shouldn’t have had to pay it. The husband’s insurance should have been the one.” I hope they don’t have grounds.

I’m not going to depend on some ad hoc group on a forum that’s going to take my back on this. You’ve got $1 million on the line. You need an attorney who will punch them in the face. You don’t want to hire a nice attorney. They’re of no value. You want to hire one you don’t even really like—one who will chew your leg off just because it’s fun. That’s who you want. This is a fight. This is a $1 million prize fight. You’ve got to punch them so hard that they don’t know what hit them. That’s the only thing I know how to do on this, and this is the danger of having two health insurance policies and not have clearly named one of them primary and the only carrier for the kids and so forth. You’ve got to step in and do that in every case. That’s why sometimes people actually go out and purchase two different health insurance policies thinking they’re being double covered. You’re not because one gets named primary; the other one doesn’t owe a thing. What you end up with is nobody wants to pay it, because you get in a fight.

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