What to Do About North Carolina Car Accident Medical Bills
Asheville residents who have been involved in car accidents are faced with many problems once they’ve been discharged from the hospital. The question that plagues everyone is about how to pay medical bills after a car accident. The at-fault driver’s insurance company will not pay for any of your treatment costs until there is a settlement agreement, which could leave you on the hook for your bills – for now.
Ideally, you will obtain a settlement from the at-fault driver’s insurance company to compensate for all your medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses you had to pay because of your accident. However, you generally won’t be able to reach a settlement until you have completed all your treatment. This makes sense because you can’t specify what all your monetary damages were until you know the total of all your bills. However, it’s frustrating because someone’s going to get stuck with the bill, and for a while that someone is you.
The good news is that there are several different methods of paying medical bills after a car accident. The bad news is that, even though there may be several resources available to you, it can still be confusing. Here are the most common ways people pay their medical bills after an accident.
Your Private Health Insurance
Your health insurance can initially pay for much of the treatment you receive. This will keep you from receiving tons of bills from your providers. It will also prevent any bills from going to collections because you can’t pay them.
However, most health insurance companies expect subrogation. This means that, when you receive a personal injury settlement, you will have to pay your insurance company back any money that they paid to your providers on your behalf. Because subrogation is a complex process, it may be best to speak to a personal injury attorney if you have questions about it.
Medicare or Medicaid
Like private health insurers, Medicare or Medicaid can pay for the treatment you need as a result of your accident. Medicare and Medicaid will probably also require you to pay them back if you receive a personal injury settlement.
Medical payments, or MedPay, is an inexpensive part of auto insurance policies that saves many car accident victims the hassle and expense of dealing with car accident medical bills. You can purchase MedPay coverage under your own car insurance policy. This part of your plan will pay medical bills after a car accident, or will cover a certain portion of your bills. If you have MedPay, you may not have to pay the co-pays or out-of-pocket expenses – like ambulance charges, dental care, or chiropractic care – specified in your health insurance plan.
North Carolina car accident claimants will not have to pay back MedPay even when a settlement is reached. You can make a MedPay claim no matter who was at fault in the accident.
The At-Fault Driver’s Insurance
Ultimately, the responsibility for paying your medical bills rests with the at-fault driver – more specifically, their insurance company. Their insurance will not pay out for your expenses until you reach a settlement agreement, which usually won’t happen until after you’ve finished your treatment and have totaled all your medical bills and other expenses. This leaves your bills unpaid for a time.
Many medical providers are used to waiting around for an insurance payout. There is a practice called third party billing where providers send a bill when your care is completed and wait for the at-fault driver’s insurance to pay up.
Unfortunately, not all providers do third party billing and will require you to pay something at the time of service. You may have to pay a co-pay or other out-of-pocket expense unless you can find another provider or have MedPay.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney for Help to Pay Medical Bills After a Car Accident
If you have serious injuries – and serious medical bills – then making sure that your bills are paid can be a long and complex process. The stress and work in contacting your insurers to pay medical bills after a car accident can distract you from focusing on your health and recovery. You may benefit from speaking with an attorney about sorting out your bills or what to say to an insurance adjuster. At a free personal injury initial consultation, an attorney can give you advice about how to handle your claim on your own or, in more serious cases, what steps you can take to strengthen your claim. You can contact our Asheville personal injury law office by phone or by email to schedule an appointment to discuss your case today.
For more information, read our blog post: How to communicate with an insurance adjuster