Legally Speaking: MO House Bill 95

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Action 12’s Gretchen Bolander: Aaron, what is Missouri House Bill 95? 

Attorney Aaron Sachs: When you pay for health insurance, who should get the benefit of what you paid for?  For example, let’s say that you are in an accident that’s caused by a drunk driver. You have hospital bills of let’s say $100,000, but because you have paid for health insurance, your health insurance has negotiated a reduction in the amount of those bills to let’s say $50,000, which your health insurance then pays. House Bill 95 prevents the jury from knowing the value of the medical bills and limits the amount that may be placed into evidence against that drunk driver. In other words, it allows the drunk driver to get the benefit of your reduction under your health insurance and reduces the potential verdict against the driver who caused the injuries. 

Bolander: Insurance companies strongly support the this bill. What is their position? 

Sachs: Insurance companies assert that if they can make more money by paying less to injured parties, then we should trust them to pass those savings onto the consumers by way of lower insurance premiums in Missouri. 

Bolander: The Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys testified against HB 95. Why are they in opposition to the bill? 

Sachs: Well in part, Missouri’s trial lawyers are arguing against the bill because it seeks to change collateral source, which is a law that’s been in place over 200 years.  A change to this rule, they say, would violate an innocent person’s right to a fair trial. Currently, the judge is allowed to decide what is fair under the circumstances, and often the judge in most cases decides to give the jury all the information that is available.  

Bolander: Aaron, what’s the bottom line when it comes to House Bill 95? 

Sachs: In my opinion, the proposed bill overrides the common sense of our Missouri judges and forces them to apply an arbitrary rule that benefits insurance companies.

Legally Speaking was sponsored by Aaron Sachs and Associates.

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