Who pays for the Medical Forensic Exam?
One main barrier in deciding to seek medical care can be paying for the medical care after the sexual assault. Survivors may be concerned that seeking medical care will mean that their privacy will not be protected as they may have to give out their insurance information. However, there are several different entities in covering the cost of the MFE including: law enforcement, Colorado’s Crime Victim Compensation, the state Sexual Assault Victim Emergency Payment Program (SAVE), or the survivor’s health insurance.
There are two parts to the MFE bill. The first part is the evidence collection portion of the MFE. This is paid for by law enforcement or the SAVE fund. The hospital will bill 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 (Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-3-407.5 (b)):
- 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, it will be billed unless the survivor specifically requests it not be. If the survivor is concerned about their insurance being billed or does not have insurance, you can assist them in seeking other options, like the SAVE fund.
- It is important to note, the SAVE fund cannot reimburse survivors. If the survivor does receive medical bills, please advise them to call the SANE/FNE program they visited for services before paying anything.
If the survivor chooses to report to law enforcement (Colo. Rev. Stat. §18-3-407.5(1)):
- 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’s insurance insurance will be billed unless they specifically request it not be. Alternatively, they can apply to Colorado’s Crime Victim Compensation to cover the expenses beyond evidence collection. A victim advocate can assist the survivor with applying to this program.
If the survivor seeks medical care, chooses not to have evidence collected, and does not report to law enforcement, then their insurance will be billed the cost of their medical care. If they do not have insurance or do not want their insurance to be billed, the survivor can work with medical facilities to set up payment plans. Encourage the survivor to also contact their victim advocate to identify other possible funding sources.
If the 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. Usually, a law enforcement or community-based sexual assault victim advocate can assist the survivor with this application process.