One of the first questions our injured clients ask is: Who pays my medical bills? This question is always on our client’s minds. We hear it whether the injury occurred in an auto accident, a bicycle collision, a truck crash or any other type of on the road incident. That is why we talk about this issue regularly. Like so many other parts of the personal injury arena, the answer is: “it depends.”
There are lots of different types of insurance coverage involved when a collision occurs. Among the many potential payers are your own (or the driver’s) auto Medical Payments (“med-pay”) coverage. If the driver is from a neighboring state there might be Personal Injury Protection (PIP) from auto insurance. There is also your health insurance; Medicaid, Medicare or, eventually, you.
Notice what’s missing? That’s right the bad guy and his insurance company. The bad guy may ultimately be responsible for the bill. Initially neither he nor his insurance will help you. There is sometimes a small exception to this if you are a cyclist or a pedestrian hit by a vehicle. If the bad guy has the right type of med-pay coverage you might get some medical bills paid. .
Generally, it is YOUR Obligation to pay for your medical care. BUT there are some types of insurance coverages that exist to help you deal with that obligation.
The Insurance On The Car In Which You Were Injured.
If you were injured in an Idaho car crash, hopefully the car you were in was covered under a med-pay policy. This is optional coverage in Idaho. When you are injured in an Idaho car accident, you become an “insured” of the car in which you were riding. The benefits and restrictions applicable to med-pay coverage differ among the car insurance companies
Med-Pay is a type of auto insurance coverage that pays medical bills after an accident injury regardless of which driver was at fault. The exact benefits and restrictions applicable differ among the car insurance companies. In Idaho, it is the primary coverage. This means the med-pay benefits of the insurance policy must be exhausted before health insurance will pay. PIP is sold in some neighboring states but not Idaho. It is similar to med-pay but often has a wider range of benefits. In some cases it pays for things in addition to just medical bills.
A few companies sell med-pay policies that follow you. That means if you own a car and have that type of med-pay coverage your coverage will also provide benefits. Thus, it might apply if you were injured in another person’s car. If you own your own car with med-pay a few companies allow you to make a claim for medical benefits.
Some med-pay coverage provides medical benefits to any one “in, on or alighting from” a vehicle. Some of the companies who sell those polices interpret a pedestrian or cyclist struck by the vehicle to be i”on the vehicle. Thus, in that instance the insurance applies.
Your Own Health Insurance
Your health insurance will pay your medical bills from a Idaho car accident. In a collision, it is secondary coverage. That means you have to first use up any applicable med-pay.
There are advantages to using health insurance if you are injured in an Idaho car 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. Med-pay on the other hand usually has to pay full price for care.
The other advantage is it stops interest charges. Medical bills accrue interest like any other outstanding bill. If you wait to pay your medical bills until your injury case settles you may end up 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 from your Idaho car accident the law generally requires that you pay back your health insurance. This called a claim for reimbursement. It is often referred to as “subrogation.” (Although that is technically wrong in many cases.)
Handling the repayment portion of an injury case can be one of the most complex parts of a claim. There are a wide-variety of contractual and equitable rules that apply. There are also federal laws and state laws that impact how much the insurance company can claim.
Medicaid-Medicare And Medical Payments For An Injury Accident In Idaho
Medicare and Medicaid are state and federal medical insurance programs that help pay the medical bills of people who are eligible. If you are in these programs they will make some payments. Like private health insurance, you have to pay back the government when you resolve your injury case. Dealing with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services can be a bureaucratic headache. A statue known as MMSEA is an area with a variety of technical legal issues that apply to these cases.
Your Own Cash
Unfortunately, if none of the above payers is there to help, you are obligated to pay your own medical expenses. This can cause substantial financial impacts for injured people.
Uninsured Motorists Coverage
If you have purchased uninsured motorists coverage and the bad guy does not have insurance, then your own insurance may be obligated to reimburse you. Your medical expenses and other losses can be submitted on an as incurred basis to obtain benefits. Idaho law gives the carrier only 60 days to pay an amount justly due.
The Bad-Guy Who Caused Your Car Wreck
If there was negligence, a lawyer can get your money back after your Idaho car accident. Injury claims can take time. Often its 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. (Not to mention stress.) In the end, though all the earlier forms of payment will also be “paid back” if you recover sufficient funds from your injury.
So “Who Pays My Medical Bills After A Car Crash”?
Its complicated. One of the services you get from quality personal injury lawyers at Hepworth Holzer is assistance with this issue. Get a free case review and evaluation by calling and talking to one of us today.