Who pays for the Medical Forensic Exam?
As an advocate providing support and information to survivors, it is important you understand the various options available to survivors for paying for the medical forensic exam (MFE). Paying for the cost of medical care after a sexual assault can be a real barrier for survivors when deciding whether or not to seek medical care. The cost of the MFE is covered by several different entities including law enforcement, Colorado Crime Victim Compensation, the state Sexual Assault Victim Emergency Payment Program (SAVE), or the survivor’s health insurance.
The bill is essentially understood in two parts. The first part is the evidence collection portion of the MFE. This is paid for by law enforcement or the SAVE fund. The hospital bills these agencies directly for the evidence collection portion of the MFE. A survivor should never receive a bill for this as state and federal law mandates survivors cannot be charged directly or indirectly for this portion.
The second part of the MFE is all the medical care a survivor receives after a sexual assault. This can vary from emergency room charges, to CAT scans, to medications, and other things.
These bills are sent to different places, based on the type of report a survivor makes (see the reporting options page).
If the survivor chooses anonymous or medical reporting:
- The SAVE fund covers the cost of evidence collection and most associated medical fees related to the medical care a survivor receives after an assault. If the survivor has health insurance that can be billed for the non-evidence collection related costs, it will be, unless a survivor specifically requests the hospital does not bill their insurance. In the case a survivor does not want their insurance billed, or does not have insurance, the SAVE fund is there to assist. Survivors cannot receive reimbursement, so it is critical you let them know they should ask about any bills they receive from the medical facility, if they have chosen medical or anonymous reporting.
If the survivor chooses to report to law enforcement:
- In this case, as noted above, the evidence collection portion of the MFE must be billed to the law enforcement agency in the jurisdiction where the crime occurred. For other associated costs, the survivor can use their own insurance if they have it and want to and/or they can apply to Colorado Crime Victim Compensation (CVC) to cover the expenses beyond evidence collection. Your role as their advocate is to assist them in completing their application to Crime Victim Compensation so they can get those costs covered, if they decide to go that route.
If a survivor seeks medical care, does not have evidence collected, and does not report to law enforcement, then it is likely their insurance provider will be billed the cost of their medical care if they have insurance. If they do not have insurance, you can help advocate for a survivor with the medical facility to set up payment plans or work with the survivor to identify other possible funding sources.
If a survivor does not have evidence collected but does choose to report to law enforcement, then they would be eligible to apply for Colorado Crime Victim Compensation to cover their medical care. Your role as their advocate would be to assist them in applying for financial support from CVC.