Should You Use Your Own Insurance to Pay Your Medical Bills After a Car Accident?
Injury & Accident Attorney Serving Nearby Areas of Columbus & Fort Benning, Georgia and Phenix City, Alabama
Not only should you use your own insurance to pay your medical bills after an accident, you may need to!
When you are injured in a crash that isn’t your fault, the at-fault party is legally responsible for compensating you for your resulting medical expenses through their liability insurance. Unfortunately, while many accident victims believe this means the at-fault party will pay their medical bills as they come in, this isn’t true.
You are responsible for paying your own medical bills until your claim is resolved, and if you have medical insurance, you should use it. Your healthcare provider will not wait for your settlement check to arrive before demanding payment.
Why the Other Party Doesn’t Pay Your Medical Bills, Even if They Are At-Fault
There are two main reasons why you will be stuck paying your hospital bills after an accident, even one caused by someone else.
First, while it may be clear to you that the other driver was acting negligently, unless they admitted to fault, the insurance companies (yours and theirs) will still be hashing out fault between themselves. You may even be determined to be at least partially at fault for the accident, which could reduce the amount of compensation you are eligible for or exempt you from compensation altogether.
Secondly, once you accept a settlement, you will not be allowed to receive more money for the same accident, even if more medical treatment is needed down the road. That’s why it’s recommended to wait until you recover as much as possible (and receive your final bill for treatment) before calculating how much compensation you will need for all your medical expenses.
How to Pay Your Medical Bills After an Accident
First, check your auto insurance policy. You may have medical payment coverage, also known as Med Pay. Med Pay is not required coverage in Georgia or Alabama, but if it is included in your policy, Med Pay can be used to cover medical bills after a car crash, regardless of who was at fault.
Med Pay doesn’t require a deductible or copay and doesn’t need to be reimbursed or repaid. However, Med Pay will only pay up to a certain amount, usually between $1,000-$25,000 depending on your policy. After reaching your Med Pay coverage limits, the rest will need to be covered by your own health insurance.
If you don’t have Med Pay coverage, or if you’ve reached your Med Pay coverage limits, ask your medical provider to bill your remaining treatment to your health insurance. However, once you receive your payment from the at-fault party’s insurance for your medical expenses, you will need to pay back your own insurance for everything they covered for you.
This is to prevent anyone from being paid twice for the same accident (once by your own insurance and later by the other driver’s insurance) in a process called subrogation. Your attorney will handle this repayment for you.
There are some situations where you may choose to send your bills to your health insurance even if you have Med Pay coverage. For example, the hospital may charge your health insurance company a discounted rate but your auto insurance company (through Med Pay) the full rate, causing your Med Pay coverage to run out sooner.
Since you will have to repay your health insurer for everything Med Pay doesn’t cover, in this case you may choose to send the bill to your health insurance to get the discounted rate, and then use your Med Pay coverage to pay back your health insurer.
Confused About What to Do After an Accident? Call Gary Bruce.
After an accident, you are likely angry, tired, in pain, and stressed. The mess of dealing with hospital bills and various insurers is one you don’t need. Thankfully, that’s what the attorneys at the Law Offices of Gary Bruce excel at.
When you reach out to our firm, we’ll take care of all the red tape so you can relax and simply focus on your recovery. Contact us today for a free consultation and learn what else we can do for you.