By Rex Bush, Doctor Of Jurisprudence, Attorney At Law
If you were injured in an accident you have medical bills. How do you get them paid?
Here are some options: Personal Injury Protection (PIP) or medpay from auto insurance; health insurance; Medicaide; Medicare; a personal injury claim against the at-fault person or company.
Your Own Auto Insurance
If yours was a car accident, hopefully the car you were in had Personal Injury Protection (PIP) or med pay or both. If you are injured in an accident you are an insured of the car you were in. If you were injured in another person’s car and you own your own car you may be able to make a claim on that insurance also.
Some states have a no-fault insurance plan. No fault is a type of automobile insurance in which each person’s own insurance company pays for injury up to a certain limit regardless of whether its insured is at fault.
Personal injury protection is another word for no fault. So if you live in a no fault state you likely have PIP which will pay your medical bills after an accident. Report the crash to your agent who will open a claim so an adjuster can be assigned. From the adjuster you can get an ‘Application for Benefits’ which you will use to start the process of claiming your PIP medical benefits.
MedPay is another type of auto insurance coverage that will pay for medical bills after an accident. Some policies have both PIP and MedPay.
Your Own Health Insurance
Contrary to popular belief, your health insurance will pay your medical bills from an accident. You need to first use up your auto PIP or MedPay. Usually, your adjuster will send you a letter telling you when the coverage is used up. Forward that letter to your health insurance and you shouldn’t have any problem getting them to pay.
There are two advantages to using health insurance after an accident.
One is discounts. Health insurance companies get discounts from hospitals and doctors. So the amount they pay is less than the full amount of the bill. This benefits you when it comes time to pay them back.
The other advantage is interest. No interest, that is. Medical bills accrue interest till paid. If you wait to pay your medical bills until your injury case settles you may be paying a lot of money in interest. And there is the possibility of a collections lawsuit if the bill does not get paid.
If your health insurance pays and you later get a settlement you will need to pay them back. Often, if you contact them before you settle they will allow a reduction because you had to pay a lawyer to help you get the money.
If you have no private health insurance there may be a program in your state that will pay your medical bills. Sometimes these programs have time limitations so file promptly. There may also be limitations on income or assets. You won’t know till you inquire.
Once again, you will need to pay back Medicaide out of your settlement. But Medicaide gets big discounts so you will be paying back far less than the amount of the original bill.
Just like Medicaide, Medicare will pay bills from an accident but, again, they want to be paid back. And, like Medicaide they get discounts from health care providers.
Personal Injury Claim
If there was negligence or other legal basis for a claim, you may be able to recover your medical bills by hiring a lawyer to pursue an injury claim. Injury claims can take time, often several years or more, so, if possible, find a way to get your bills paid with one of the other methods. That avoids interest and possible collections lawsuits.
About the Author: Rex Bush is founder of Bush Law Firm near Salt Lake City, Utah where he handles personal injury cases in Utah and throughout the United States and Canada. For information on personal injury issues visit his website:
Utah Personal Injury Attorney