If you’ve been in a car accident, and sustained injuries that have required medical treatment, one question you probably have is: who is responsible for handling the payments for my medical bills, health insurance (medicare/medicaid) and car insurance? Is the other driver responsible for paying? Will my I get a decent offer to settle? Medical bills can become very confusing following a car accident because there are multiple ways that providers get paid and reimbursed for treatment rendered. This is a basic overview to help explain who should pay for outstanding bills after a car crash that was not your fault. A good personal injury lawyer will help you get answers for these questions, and will fight to ensure that you are properly compensated for your injuries.
The other driver’s auto insurance:
The at fault driver is the one who is responsible for your medical bills and treatments related to the accident at the end of the day. Typically, this means that their auto insurance is on the hook for these expenses. However, the other party’s insurance will not render payment for any medical bills and treatments until both sides agree on a settlement amount, once (ideally) all related treatment has been completed. Medical providers deal with this all the time, and they often will simply send a bill for all their treatment and wait for the settlement to be paid. This is called third party billing.
Things can get tricky when a medical provider does NOT do third party billing and requires some sort of payment at the time services are rendered. If you have been injured, you will have to either pay for the services up front, find another provider that will do third party billing, or pay for the treatments in one of the following ways:
Private Health Insurance:
You can charge most treatments to your private health insurance before you settle your personal injury claim. Keep in mind though that your health insurance company will likely expect to be paid back, directly from your personal injury settlement. This is referred to as subrogation. Ask your attorney about whether or not your health insurance provider is entitled to subrogation, as it can get very complex.
If you have Medicare or Medicaid, you can charge any of your medical services to Medicare or Medicaid. Remember though, that Medicare/Medicaid will also want to be paid back anything they paid on your behalf once you settle your claim. Again, it is best to speak to your attorney about the details of Medicare and Medicaid subrogation.
Medical Payments (Medpay):
Check your auto insurance policy for something called “medical payments” or “Medpay”. This is a component of your auto insurance policy that will pay up to a certain amount toward medical bills resulting from a car accident, no matter who was deemed to be at fault. The good news is that Medpay is very inexpensive and is extremely helpful when you are needing help paying medical bills following an accident. In North Carolina, (unlike private insurance, Medicare, and Medicaid) Medpay will not want to be reimbursed out of your personal injury settlement.
Cash is always a reasonable option for paying for your medical treatment. You will be paid back upon settlement for any payments you made out of pocket during your treatment. The problem is that most people don’t have this kind of cash on hand to pay for medical bills.
The process of sorting out payments for your medical treatments can be very confusing and frustrating following a car accident. As an accident victim, we want you to focus on getting the treatment you need so you can heal up and get your life back on track. If you have questions about how this process works, or need legal advice regarding your personal injury claim, please contact us by phone or email for a free consultation.