Car accidents can endanger both your health and your finances, so it pays to discover how to pay for medical care and expenses when you are waiting for your personal injury settlement.
If you require medical treatment after being injured in a car accident, you should prioritize your health rather than avoid treatment because of the perceived costs.
Beyond this, personal injury settlements are mainly based on the cost of medical care. This includes diagnosis, medications, treatments, and rehabilitation.
If you delay getting medical treatment, or if you skimp on the quality of care to shave a few bucks off the price, you’ll not only risk harming your health, but you could also end up weakening your insurance claim. One of the best ways to make sure you are fully compensated for your accident-related injuries is to seek appropriate medical care.
MedPay or PIP Auto Policy Coverage
Medical Payment Insurance, commonly abbreviated to MedPay, provides coverage for injury costs. This coverage extends to you and all the passengers in your vehicle when involved in any accident, regardless of who was at fault. MedPay limits are typically low – less than $10,000 – and coverage only applies to medical expenses. If you can prove you were wearing a seatbelt when the car accident happened, some MedPay policies double the available coverage.
If you live in a state where no-fault insurance applies, your own auto insurance policy will include PIP (personal injury protection) coverage. This coverage pays for the costs of reasonable medical treatment required by drivers and passengers following a car accident. This applies regardless of who caused the crash. PIP will also pay for replacement services you need to hire out due to lost income and injuries.
Uninsured Driver Coverage
Although almost every state has laws obliging vehicle owners to carry auto insurance, estimates suggest that up to one in eight drivers are uninsured.
At the time of writing, 22 states require auto insurance policies sold in that state to include uninsured motorist coverage. If this is not legally required, you will have the option of purchasing this extra coverage.
With uninsured motorist coverage, you can recoup the costs of your medical care if you are injured in an accident involving an uninsured at-fault driver, or if you are injured in a hit-and-run.
Private Healthcare Insurance
If your employer provides a healthcare insurance plan, this is a safe and reliable way to ensure you get the medical treatment you need after a car wreck. You will need to pay any deductibles or copays out of pocket, but you can recover these costs later upon settling your claim.
Make sure you keep complete medical bills so you can submit these with your personal injury claim. Your compensation entitles you to the full value of medical care required rather than only the amount you pay out-of-pocket, or the lower payment made by your healthcare insurance plan.
Once your claim has been processed, it is quite likely you will hear from the health insurance company. If there is any possibility the claim could hinge on the liability of someone else, the insurance carrier will do all they can to exploit this.
Health insurers do not pursue the victims of car accidents directly. That said, they still expect reimbursement from your expected settlement with the insurer of the at-fault driver. This should underscore the importance of claiming the total value of your medical care when claiming your personal injury compensation.
VA or Medicare Coverage
VA healthcare benefits typically cover all those who actively served in the US military, air or naval services, as long as they did not receive a dishonorable discharge. The VA website outlines the specific requirements for eligibility. In some cases, coverage extends to the spouse and the dependent children of the service member.
Medicare is divided into two parts, Medicare A and Medicare B. This is a plan available to all over 65s in the United States who have paid into this system.
Part A covers surgery, lab work, and hospital stays. Part B covers physical therapy, medical equipment, doctors’ visits, X-rays, and various outpatient services.
Medicare will meet the cost of 80% of qualified medical expenses. If you want to cover the remaining 20%, you can purchase a Medigap policy to achieve this.
With Medicare Part D, by contrast, the cost of approved medications is covered.
CHIP and Medicaid
CHIP (the Children’s Health Insurance Program) is a joint state and federal program providing medical care coverage for children.
Medicaid is a federal program that is administered by states. Medicaid provides healthcare coverage for those with low incomes or disabilities. Medicaid also offers coverage for pregnant women.
If you have a serious car accident while uninsured, you should seek guidance from a hospital social worker or the financial services coordinator of the hospital if you end up needing medical care you cannot afford.
If your personal injury claim involves children, you should retain an experienced personal injury attorney to maximize your compensation.
Letters of Protection
Even if the insurance company of the at-fault driver promptly accepts liability for their insured party, they will not pay your medical bills immediately. Most bodily injury claims take months to settle. Sometimes, cases drag on for years. You, of course, have bills mounting, and you could even be placed under financial duress, concerned about your accounts going into collections.
There are many ways to pay for medical care after an accident. However, if all else fails, a LOP (letter of protection) can be beneficial.
A LOP constitutes a promise your attorney makes to protect the interest of the medical provider. Your attorney achieves this by paying their bills out of the settlement funds. In return for this, they hold your account from collections pending the resolution of your case.
By retaining legal representation after a car accident, you can ensure your attorney safeguards your medical accounts from collections by sending each of the medical providers a letter of protection. If you are an accident victim, you cannot give a LOP to a doctor or hospital directly, so make sure you hire an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after the accident.
LOPs are legally binding agreements between you, your lawyer, and the medical care provider. Letters of protection buy you time to settle your claim without undue hassle from creditors.
Bear in mind that if your claim doesn’t settle or if you lose your case at trial, you will be personally liable for all outstanding medical bills.
Workers’ Compensation Insurance
If you are injured in any kind of motor vehicle accident while in the course of your duties at work, you are eligible to apply for workers’ compensation benefits.
All eligible workers enjoy access to benefits like medical care coverage. These benefits apply even if you were at fault for the accident. Benefits do not apply if you intentionally did something illegal – driving under the influence, for example.
If all else fails, lawsuit loans can be a solid way to pay for your medical care after an accident. Uplift Legal Funding provides non-recourse funding to plaintiffs nationwide for living expenses and medical treatment alike.
Unlike traditional loans, lawsuit loans are only repaid if your claim is successful. That means that you can get the treatment you need without having to worry about bills piling up if you lose your case.