If you were injured in a car accident in Illinois due to somebody else’s negligence, you might be wondering, “Who pays my medical bills?” There is a common misconception that the driver, who caused the accident and your injuries, is liable to pay your medical bills. The injured party will typically tell their medical provider(s) to “bill that at-fault driver’s auto insurance carrier.”
In return, your medical provider will submit their outstanding balances to the at-fault driver’s auto insurance carrier for payment.
When your provider does not receive payment from the at-fault party, your medical bills will be sent to collections and your credit score will take a devastating hit. You are responsible for the cost of the healthcare you receive that is related to the treatment of injuries sustained in a car accident.
This creates stress and economic hardship for many victims who have suffered injuries as a result of someone else’s negligence. The cost of healthcare is tremendous and the costs of treatment following an accident can easily cost thousands of dollars.
What are my options?
The good news is that you do not have to sacrifice your credit score to address any medical bills from your accident. You have a few options that can help you pay for your medical care until a settlement is reached between you at the at-fault party.
Medical payments coverage, also known as Medpay, is optional coverage through your auto insurance company. Surprisingly, many policyholders are unaware of this optional coverage. Medpay is exactly what it sounds like – it’s a coverage that helps pay medical bills for you and/or other passengers that have been injured following a car accident.
Medpay coverage will pay your medical costs regardless of who caused the collision, with a potential right of subrogation (reimbursement for money paid out) when you seek recovery from the at-fault party.
Adding this optional coverage through your auto insurance company only costs a few dollars a month and is extremely valuable to have if you become injured after an accident. Unlike health insurance which only pays a percentage of your medical bills, your Medpay coverage will pay 100% of your medical bill(s).
Even if you have MedPay coverage on your auto insurance policy, it may not be enough to cover all your outstanding medical expenses. Some policies have Medpay coverage as low as $500.00 which, in today’s economy, is not enough to cover the ambulance ride to the hospital. Once you have exhausted your Medpay coverage, the next step would be to have your provider submit your outstanding bills to your private health insurance plan.
Your Own Health Insurance
Once you have exhausted your Medpay coverage, you should instruct your physician to begin billing your health insurance. Again, the person who caused the accident and your injuries is not legally responsible for paying your medical bills. Most health insurance companies have contracted with local providers to only pay for a contracted rate for the services rendered rather than the whole rate. When your health insurance pays their agreed contracted rate, the provider will adjust the balance, pending any copays that you may be responsible for.
It’s important to keep in mind that, although your health insurance will pick up the tab for your medical bills, they have a right to be reimbursed for any money paid on your behalf and will assert their subrogation rights.
Once they have asserted their subrogation rights, they will be reimbursed out of the proceeds from your settlement with the at-fault driver’s auto insurance company. In most cases, our office has the expertise and experience to negotiate with your health insurance company so that you get the most of your settlement proceeds.
What is a medical lien? Simply put, a medical lien is an agreement between a patient and their provider to receive treatment in exchange for placing a lien on your settlement for reimbursement of their services. With a lien, a physician will provide and render medical treatment to the injured party and allow the injured party to defer payment until settlement.
If your provider asserts their lien on your settlement, they are required to follow the Health Care Services Lien Act (“Lien Act”), pursuant to 770 ILCS 23/1, et seq. When a provider places a lien on your claim, it must be in writing with specific language and must be served on both the at-fault party and the party who was injured in the car accident.
Legal Help From Our Car Accident Lawyers In Rockford, IL
Our office takes pride in negotiating liens and medical bills down as low as possible. Any money owed that we are able to negotiate to a lesser amount puts extra money in your pocket.
At Crosby & Crosby Law, we want to help real people with real problems achieve real and satisfactory solutions to their legal issues. If you have been injured in an accident and have questions, please call our office to schedule a free consultation.