Keep your medical bills from going to collections

If you were involved in a car accident in Glenview, or anywhere in Illinois, Keep your medical bills from going to collections you may have suffered injuries. If you did, you need to keep your medical bills from going to collections until the case settles. If you would like to speak with a car accident attorney about this matter, call me today at 847-305-4105.

Using Your Health Insurance to Pay Medical Bills

Health Insurance is the Best Way to get Your Medical Bills Paid

As I’ve discussed in other blog articles, the best way to pay your medical bills after a car accident is by using your health insurance. But this is not full proof. Health insurance companies will try to avoid paying for your medical bills if they can. And if they do pay, they will expect to be reimbursed out of the proceeds of your settlement.

I recently received a call from a Glenview resident who was injured when a car ran over his foot. He went to the emergency room after the accident and gave the hospital his health insurance information. He thought the matter was resolved. Six months later, he was advised that his bills were being denied because he “lied” on his health insurance application about being a smoker.

Health insurance companies are like any insurance company – they will utilize whatever methods they have to avoid paying your medical bills.

Even if you use your health insurance, you will be responsible for paying your co-pays and your deductible. And if you don’t pay them, those medical bills will go to collections.

Keep Your Medical Bills from Going to Collections

Co-Pays and Deductibles

So, how do you keep your medical bills from going to collections? The most obvious answer is to pay them. For many people this is not easy however. Not everyone can afford to pay the huge deductibles that come with health insurance today.

Co-pays too are increasing. In 2018, I personally had no co-pays and zero co-insurance. Now in 2019, I have a co-pay every time I visit my doctor and co-insurance of as much as 30 percent.

Ignoring the Bills is NOT a Strategy

First and foremost, never, ever, allow the bills to pile up on your counter or your desk. Ignoring them is a sure-fire way to ensure that your bills end up in collections.

Instead, take the initiative. Contact your medical provider’s billing department. When you call, the billing department will verify who you are by asking for your:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Social Security Number
  • Account Number

You can then explain your situation and ask for advice how to proceed. Occasionally, you will run across a biller who does not care about your situation. These people receive calls all day from car accident victims, attorney’s offices and other people who have piles of medical bills and need help. However, most of the time, the medical provider will work with you to get your bills paid.

How Do You Pay These Bills?

Medpay: First, you may have med-pay insurance. Med-pay or medical payments coverage is available through your auto insurance policy and it is a great option for paying these bills. The nice thing is that medpay is available regardless of fault and there is no deductible. However, if you recover from the third party for your damages, you may have to pay your auto insurance company back.

Payment Plan: Almost all medical providers I have dealt with understand that most people cannot afford to pay their medical bills personally after an accident and that they want to keep their medical bills from going to collections. As such, you may be able to enter into a payment plan with the provider where you pay a nominal amount of your bill monthly until your case settles.

Credit Card: We are a credit card based society but people generally understand that using your credit card is a costly way of paying your medical bills. If you “finance” your $2,500.00 medical bill on your credit, you will end up paying much more for it due to interest on the “loan.” However, it’s better than having your credit ruined because you didn’t pay the bill at all.

Medical Liens: Some medical providers will allow you to sign a “lien” which is basically a promise to pay the provider back out of the proceeds of the settlement. This will keep the bill from going to collections and will give you time to resolve your case and pay your bill.

Note that if you are not in Illinois and in a no-fault state, the rules apply differently and you should consult a car accident attorney familiar with your state’s no-fault laws.

Why should you care about collections

First and foremost, it is critical to keep your medical bills from going to collections. If you don’t pay your medical bills, they can and will go to collections. Having an outstanding debt like that can affect your credit report. And they could affect your credit for seven years just like any debt. This is unfortunate when in most cases, this could have been avoided with a phone call.

Of course, there are practical ramifications to having a bad credit score. Try getting a mortgage with a bad credit score, or buying a new car or getting a new credit card. If you can get the loan with a bad credit score, you will pay a significantly higher interest rate which could cost you thousands of dollars.

Bankruptcy due to Medical Bills

Your bills going to collections is bad, but in this country there is an even worse fate and that is having to file for bankruptcy as a result of medical bills.

Medical bill debt is one of many reasons why people file for bankruptcy. When you file for bankruptcy, your medical debt can be eliminated the same as other unsecured debt.

This should be a last resort however. You do not want to file bankruptcy if you can avoid it. And again, your attorney can help you avoid such a drastic outcome simply by contacting your medical providers.

If you are suffering as a result of a lot of medical bills as a result of having been in an auto accident, feel free to reach out to me at 847-305-4105 for a free consultation.

Mount Prospect Attorney – Co-pays after an auto accident

Co-pays after an auto accident
If you were injured in the village of Mount Prospect or anywhere in the state of Illinois, you may wonder whether you can recover for your co-pays after an auto accident. You can. But not how you might think. For a free consultation on this or any other topic, call Mount Prospect attorney Barry Zlotowicz for a free consultation at 847-305-4105.

Co-pays after an auto accident

If you were injured in an auto accident or any other type of personal injury accident, you probably sought medical care shortly thereafter. Perhaps you went to the emergency room or a local urgent care. After your medical care is completed, you will begin to receive medical bills for the treatment.

The auto insurance company for the driver who hit you will NOT pay your medical bills until your case is resolved. However, your health insurance may pay for the bills. You may have to pay your health insurance back out of the proceeds of your settlement.

If you do use your health insurance to pay your medical bills, you will likely have co-pays, co-insurance and/or a deductible that must be paid before your health insurance kicks in. That does not change after an auto accident.

If you receive a bill for a co-pay you must pay it. Otherwise, the bill could go to collections. If you are attempting to obtain follow-up care, for example, with your primary care physician, or more significantly, if you are attending physical therapy, you will have to pay your co-pay on every visit.

That can be costly. I’ve had more than one client who did not pursue additional medical care because she/he could not afford the co-pays.

The same applies for your deductible. Let’s say hypothetically that you have a deductible of $2,500. If you go to the emergency room and your bill is $5,000, you will get a bill for $2,500. If you don’t pay that bill, it may very well go to collections.

People often ask if they will recover for the co-pays after an auto accident. Yes, you will, but not how you think. After you are done treating, your Mount Prospect attorney will demand that the defendant driver’s auto insurance company reimburse your for ALL of your medical bills – not just your deductible.

Your co-pay is just a fixed part/portion of an entire medical bill. As such, you will not receive reimbursement specifically for the co-pay. Rather, you will seek reimbursement for your entire bill.

Auto accident settlement example

This is frustrating to some people because the settlement offer the auto insurance company makes you is intended to compensate you for your pain and suffering as well as pay for your medical bills.

For example, if you have medical bills of $3,000 and the insurance company offers you $10,000 to settle your case, the $3k in medical bills are included in the $10,000 offer. Often accident victims think that the $10,000 all goes to them. It does not. By the way, if you have attorneys’ fees, those come out of the settlement amount as well.

So, Yes, you will recover for your co-pays

Regardless how you get compensated, you will receive reimbursement for your medical bill co-pays and your deductible. It may just not be when you want it or you need it.

There are other options to pay your medical bills. Those can be found in my blog article on this topic. But in some they include obtaining medical service on lien or using your medpay insurance in your auto insurance policy.

If you have any additional questions about obtaining reimbursement for your co-pays after an auto accident, feel free to reach out to Mount Prospect attorney Barry Zlotowicz at 847-305-4105.

Who pays the medical bills after an auto accident

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 Auto Accident ILout who will pay your medical bills or contact me for a free consultation at 847-305-4105.

Warning

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 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.

MedPay Insurance

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.

Health Insurance

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

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 from 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.

Cash

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.