Ohio Permits Evidence of Write-offs Of Medical Bills

The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled that a defendant in a personal injury action may introduce evidence that plaintiff’s health care provider "wrote off" certain medical charges for care given to the plaintiff.

The plaintiff was billed $21,874.80 for care received in the accident.  His health insurer paid $7.483.91 of those bills and the provider wrote off the balance pursuant to an agreement with the health insurer.  The trial judge did not permit the defendant to introduce evidence of the write-offs.

The Ohio Supreme Court reversed, saying that "’the reasonable value of medical services is a matter for the jury to determine from all relevant evidence.  Both the original medical bill rendered and the amount accepted as full payment are admissible to prove the reasonableness and necessity of charges rendered for medical and hospital care.’"  [Citation omitted.]

The case is Jaques v. Manton, Slip Op. No. 2010-Ohio-1838 (Ohio May 4, 2010).  Read the opinion here.  The Illinois Supreme Court has reached the opposite result as has Arizona.   The Arizona opinion has a survey of the law of several states on the issue.