Who pays for the Medical Forensic Exam?
Paying for the cost of medical care after a sexual assault can be a real barrier for survivors in deciding whether to seek medical care. The cost of the MFE is covered by several different entities including law enforcement, Colorado’s Crime Victim Compensation, a 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 your friend, family member and/or loved one chooses anonymous or medical reporting:
- The SAVE fund covers the cost of evidence collection and most associated medical costs 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 the survivor specifically requests it not be. If 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 if your friend, family member, and/or loved one receives any medical bills, please query them by calling the SANE/FNE program you visited for services before paying anything if your friend, family member, and/or loved one chose medical or anonymous reporting.
If your friend, family member and/or loved one chooses to report to law enforcement:
- In this case, as noted above the evidence collection portion of the medical cost must be billed to the law enforcement agency in the jurisdiction where the crime occurred. For other associated medical costs, the survivor can use their own insurance if they have it and want to and/or they can apply to Colorado’s Crime Victim Compensation to cover the expenses beyond evidence collection. A victim advocate can assist your friend, family member, and/or loved one with applying to this program.
If your friend, family member, and/or loved one seeks medical care, chooses 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, your friend, family member, and/or loved one can work with medical facilities to set up payment plans. Encourage your friend, family member, and/or loved one to also contact their victim advocate to identify other possible funding sources.
If your friend, family member, and/or loved one 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. Usually, a law enforcement or community-based sexual assault victim advocate can assist them with this application process.