In a medical emergency, life-saving care always comes before payment and insurance considerations, including any unpaid hospital bills for previous care. A federal law known as EMTALA (the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act) gives everyone the right to be treated for an emergency medical condition, regardless of their ability to pay.
your payment responsibilities
It is important to realize that having a right to emergency care does not mean it is free. A hospital’s regular policies about prices, billing, payment, and eligibility for financial assistance still apply. However, those financial discussions take place after you have been screened and stabilized in the emergency department (ED). Before you leave the ED or hospital, a financial counselor will talk with you or your caregiver during the discharge process.