Who pays the medical bills after an auto accident?
If you were injured in a car accident in Illinois, you may wonder who pays the medical bills after an auto accident? Continue reading to find out who will pay your medical bills or contact me for a free consultation at 847-305-4105.
There are several ways to pay for medical bills after an auto accident. But before we discuss that, I want to advise you of a common misperception people have. The auto insurance for the driver of the vehicle that hit you will NOT pay for your medical bills until your case settles.
As such, there is no sense in telling your medical providers to bill that driver’s auto insurance. That is a sure way to have your medical bills go to collections. It’s very unfair. You were not at fault for the accident. Still, you are the one responsible to confirm who pays your medical bills after an auto accident. As such, we recommend using one of the following means to get those bills paid.
What is medpay? Medpay or medical payments coverage, is a clause within many auto insurance policies. It is optional coverage in Illinois so not everyone has it. You will usually contract with your auto insurance company for them to pay the first $2,500, $5,000 or $10,000 of your medical bills, regardless of fault.
I’ve read a lot online that people don’t recommend purchasing medpay. I disagree completely. For the few dollars a month medpay costs, it is a valuable thing to have if you get in an accident. Many people cannot afford to pay their deductible or co-pays which are so high these days. Medpay can cover that for you. If you don’t have health insurance at all, medpay is an option for getting your medical bills paid, again, regardless of fault. Finally, unlike health insurance which might pay 80% of a medical bill leaving you with the balance, medpay will pay 100% of the bill.
I always tell my clients when they get any kind of medical treatment, tell your medical provider to bill your health insurance (but for bills paid by medpay). There are many advantages to using your health insurance to pay your medical bills, the main one being is that your health insurance company such as Aetna or Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, will likely have contracted rates with your medical provider. As such, Aetna will only have to pay their contracted rate for a bill rather than the whole rate.
So, for example, if you get a bill for $10,000 for an emergency room visit. Aetna will pay $5,000 of that bill and the rest will be written off by the medical provider.
You’re not completely off the hook however. You may still have copays or a deductible that needs to be paid. Also, your health insurance company expects to be reimbursed for the money they paid on your behalf out of the proceeds of your settlement/recovery.
Still, using your health insurance to pay your medical bills after an accident is the best way to keep your medical costs down and get your bills paid.
Liens provide an interesting wrinkle to the issue of who pays the medical bills after an auto accident. A lien in this context basically means that when you recover for the injuries suffered in your accident, you are obligated by law to pay back your lien holders. These could include the ambulance company, emergency room, your physician etc.
Hospitals often file liens shortly after treating a patient so that they are assured of getting reimbursed for their services. Once they get paid by the health insurance company they will release their lien. Other providers may voluntarily enter into a lien agreement with you such as a chiropractor or physical therapist. In exchange for you and your attorney signing the lien, they agree to provide you treatment and hold off on billing you for the services until your case is resolved.
If you want more information on Illinois medical liens, check out the Illinois healthcare lien act.
Another option for paying your medical bills is to pay them up front with cash. This is seldom used of course, but it is an option to ensure your bills get paid.
Third party and uninsured motorist insurance
As stated above, the insurance company for the driver who hit you will not pay your medical bills until you settle or otherwise resolve your case. However, when you settle, one of the aspects of the settlement will be reimbursement for your medical bills.
So, for example, let’s say you are involved in a minor fender bender but you do go to the hospital. You have no other treatment and your emergency room bill is $3,000.
You enter into a settlement with the auto insurance company of $10,000. That settlement includes reimbursement for your $3,000 in medical bills. Meaning, that after you pay your medical providers and/or health insurance company back, you will be left with $7,000 (assuming you do not have to pay attorneys’ fees).
The same thing applies to uninsured motorist coverage. If you are hit by an uninsured driver, you will file a claim against your own auto insurance policy. The same analysis will then apply. If you recover $10,000 from your insurance company, you will have to pay back the $3,000 in medical bills from your recovery.
If you are involved in a car accident in Illinois and you want to know who pays the medical bills after an auto accident, contact Barry Zlotowicz at 847-305-4105 for a free consultation.