Burton Craige authored a paper this month titled “Billed v. Paid: Present, Past, Future”. Burton presented his paper this month at the North Carolina Advocates for Justice CLE, "Bill v. Paid: Counting the True Cost." His paper discusses the way the "Billed v. Paid" issue is handled in other states and how North Carolina’s law has changed over the years.
In June 2011, the North Carolina General Assembly enacted HB 542, titled “Tort Reform for Citizens and Businesses.” Section 1.1 of HB 542 creates a new rule of evidence (Rule 414) that limits evidence of past medical expenses to “the amounts actually paid to satisfy the bills” and “the amounts actually necessary to satisfy the bills that have been incurred but not yet satisfied.” Section 1.2 amends G.S. § 8-58.1, limiting the plaintiff’s testimony about reasonable medical expenses to the amount “paid or required to be paid in full satisfaction” of the charges. In combination, the new provisions, commonly referred to as “billed v. paid,” will significantly reduce the amount that injured plaintiffs can recover for their medical expenses. The billed v. paid provisions are effective for all actions “arising on or after” October 1, 2011.
In the past decade, many states have confronted the billed v. paid issue in their appellate courts. A handful of states have addressed the issue legislatively. This paper reviews the experience in other jurisdictions, traces the evolution of billed v. paid in North Carolina, and identifies a potential constitutional challenge to the new legislation.