Who pays for the Medical Forensic Exam?
One of the concerns many survivors have about seeking medical care is the cost of doing so. It is important you understand the various options available to survivors for paying for the MFE so you can advise them on their options. 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) (Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-3-407.5 (b)), or the survivor’s health insurance.
The MFE bill is essentially understood in two parts. The first part is the evidence collection portion of the MFE. This is paid for by the law enforcement agency in the jurisdiction where the crime occurred or the SAVE fund depending on which reporting option a survivor chooses. 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 (Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-3-407.5 (b)).
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 (Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-3-407.5 (b)):
- 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 to cover the expenses beyond evidence collection. Please direct your client to ask their victim advocate (either at the law enforcement agency if they have them, or a community-based advocate) about applying for Crime Victim Compensation. You can find more information about it to stay educated on its requirements here.
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.
To find the nearest victim advocacy resource for your client, visit our resource map.
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.