If you were involved in a car accident in Glenview, or anywhere in Illinois, 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:
- 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.