WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT PAYING MY MEDICAL BILLS AFTER MY CAR ACCIDENT?
March 9, 2022
What should you do with your medical bills when you are injured in a motor vehicle accident that is caused by someone else’s negligence? This can be one of the more important decisions that you and your attorney make when handling a car accident claim.
When I represent people who were injured in a car accident, a typical belief they have is that their health insurance shouldn’t be part of the bill pay equation since the car accident was caused by someone else. I can understand and appreciate the thinking. While, ultimately, the negligent driver’s car insurance is obligated for all of the medical bills, I strongly believe that our clients are better served if their medical bills are first processed through their own health insurance.
Almost all policies of health insurance, including Medicare, Medicaid, and employer sponsored plans, have negotiated rates with hospitals, physical therapists and physicians. These negotiated rates, especially when Medicare or Medicaid is the payor, are usually much less than the “rack” uninsured rate for most services.
The negligent driver’s car insurance will not reimburse medical bills until the case is finished. In other words, the negligent driver’s car insurance will not make interim payments towards the medical bills. It is only at the end of the case when the amount of the claim is determined, either through settlement or trial, that the car insurance company will write the check.
If our client submits his or her medical bills to their health insurance, our client is getting the benefit of the reduced negotiated price for hospital, medical and physical therapy services. So, when our client is distributing the monies obtained from the negligent driver, the client will be in a better net financial situation.
In addition to getting the advantage of the reduced negotiated rates, using health insurance allows our client to retain complete control over medical decision making. By leaving reimbursement to health insurance, our client, and not the car insurance adjuster has the decision-making authority over the medical treatment decisions. This can get confusing.
The handling of medical bills from a car accident is a very important decision. This is typically one of the first matters that must be addressed in a car accident. If you ever have a scenario where you or your loved ones are facing questions regarding this, please feel free to reach out to us. We are happy to help answer your questions.