This article will help you discover:
- How you can pay your medical bills after an accident — with or without health insurance.
- What to do if your health insurance provider claims they are a secondary responsible party and does not want to cover your medical expenses.
- The ideal strategy for paying your medical bills.
What Are My Options For Paying Medical Bills While I Wait For My Car Accident Settlement?
We understand the mental, physical, and financial strain you may be experiencing if you are facing medical bills after being in a car accident. Luckily, there are methods of ensuring that your medical expenses are covered while you are waiting for your car accident settlement.
The best scenario for covering medical bills after a car accident is if you have health insurance. We recommend that you continue to submit your medical bills to your health insurance so that they can get paid. Because of the extended timeline of some cases, it is important to pay as you go whenever possible.
Claims can take a long time to be fully analyzed and paid out by the insurance company, especially if you are still being treated for any injuries. Your attorney may not want to make a demand until the extent of your injuries and the timeline of your recovery is determined. Because this can be a lengthy process, if you are not paying your medical bills, you can get turned over to collections.
Clients often feel pressured to settle early because they need the settlement money to cover medical bills when they do not have another way to pay. You may feel that you should accept a settlement quickly due to financial pressures, but an attorney might recommend waiting and not accepting a current settlement offer.
Whenever possible, it is best to turn to health insurance to cover any medical bills while you are waiting for the settlement. This will help alleviate the financial stress of needing a quick settlement in order to cover your medical expenses.
What If My Health Insurance Company Does Not Want To Cover My Medical Expenses After An Accident?
In reality, health insurance companies often do not want to pay when they learn that your injuries arose from a motor vehicle collision. They may inform you that they are a secondary responsible party that does not take effect until after any auto insurance payments.
We suggest that you reach out to your health insurance company and insist that they pay, because there is no requirement for you to make a claim. Even if you do make a claim, there is no guarantee that the other party will be held legally responsible for covering your medical expenses.
Our recommendation is to contact the health insurance company and inform them that they are under a contractual obligation to pay. Under Indiana law, there is a statute that stipulates how reimbursement occurs to a third-party insurer who has already made payments.
Using health insurance to pay as you go allows for a built-in reduction, assuming it is not a plan covered under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). For example, if a health insurance company pays out $20,000 for your medical treatment and you receive a recovery of $50,000 through an attorney, you do not have to repay the full $20,000.
With a standard health insurance plan, the $20,000 will be reduced by one-third, or $6,667, and you only have to reimburse the remaining $13,333. The logic behind this law is that the insured should not have to give up a third of their gross settlement in order for everyone else to receive the full amount when they have done nothing to pursue that reimbursement.
Repayment rules may be different if you are insured under an ERISA plan. ERISA plans are federally regulated and cannot be contradicted by state laws or statutes.
What If I Don’t Have Health Insurance?
If you do not have health insurance, another source of coverage is the medical payments provision that is part of every automobile insurance policy. This policy provision states that anyone in the vehicle who was injured in a crash will be paid reasonable and necessary medical expenses, regardless of fault.
These medical payments continue for a select time period after the crash, as long as the injuries resulted from the accident. Many people have a relatively low limit, such as $5,000, which may not cover much. However, for anyone who does not have health insurance, this can still be a considerable asset.
Our preferred strategy is for our clients to first go through their health insurance, if they are insured. Since the use of health insurance will still require copays and deductibles, it is best to allow the health insurance company to pay whatever they will cover, and then use the medical payments provision to cover any expenses that were paid out of your pocket.
This is the ideal payment situation because it enables payment in a timely manner and helps you avoid being sent to collections for overdue medical bills.
With the guidance of a skilled attorney for Personal Injury Cases, you can have the peace of mind that comes with knowing that we’ll make it look easy. For more information on Personal Injury Law in Indiana, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (812) 359-8007 today.