How Will I Pay My Medical Bills?
If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident in the state of Florida you may be wondering, how will my medical bills be paid? There are several different options available to cover your medical bills after a car accident, including:
· No-fault auto insurance (“PIP”): If you own an operable vehicle in the state of Florida you are required to have Personal Injury Protection coverage from an auto insurance company. There is a hierarchy: (1) Do you own an operable vehicle, if so, you are required to have PIP; (2) If you don’t own an operable vehicle, BUT you live with a BLOOD RELATIVE with PIP, you must make a claim through the policy of your relative; (3) If you don’t own an operable vehicle or live with a blood relative with PIP, you can make a claim under the PIP coverage of the vehicle you were riding in. PIP will generally cover up to $10,000 of your medical costs. PIP pays 80% of reasonable, related and medically necessary treatment.
· MedPay. Medical Payment Insurance Coverage (“MedPay”) is an supplemental coverage. MedPay covers the co-pay (20%) that your PIP requires. MedPay is meant to leave the insured with zero out of pocket medical bills. Depending on the coverage selected, you may be able to use MedPay for treatment not covered by PIP.
· Health insurance. Health Insurance is an option. In some situations your health insurance is billed even if you have auto insurance. For example, if you go to the hospital immediately after a motor vehicle accident, the hospital may bill your health insurance. This is true even if you have auto insurance. If PIP Benefits exhaust, certain medical providers will submit your bills to your personal health insurance. Ideally, your auto insurance is primary, and your health insurance is secondary. Remember, any bills submitted and paid by your health insurance will result in a lien, which will be paid back by through settlement.
· Medicare and Medicaid. If you receive coverage from federal programs such as Medicare or Medicaid, these programs will pay for your medical bills related to a car accident. However, similar to health insurance, there will be a lien and that lien must be satisfied out of the any settlement recovered.
· Workers’ compensation. Workers Compensation will be an option when the motor vehicle accident occurs within the course and scope of employment. Similar to health insurance, workers compensation payments related to an auto accident must be paid back out of any settlement recovered.
· Injury lawsuit. If your medical bills exceed the amount of your insurance coverage, you may consider filing a lawsuit against the at-fault driver’s bodily injury coverage or your Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage.
- The At Fault Party should pay for my medical bills. This is understandable, but, because Florida is a No-Fault State, you should make a claim through the Personal Injury Protection Coverage available to you;
- I don’t want to make a claim through my auto insurance policy because my premiums will go up. Also understandable, but Florida law requires you to make a claim through applicable PIP Coverage. In regards to your premiums, they should not rise IF you were not at fault for the accident. Also, remember that when you renew your auto insurance policy you MUST disclose recent accidents and claims. In other words, even if you don’t make a claim, your insurance requires you to list recent accidents and claims, therefore, any attempts to avoid changes in premium due to an accident are moot.
- I don’t want to get stuck with any bills if there is no settlement recovery. Your PIP Coverage will pay 80% of your medical bills up to $10,000.00. If you have MedPay, the MedPay will cover the 20% Co-Pay. A good auto accident attorney will ensure that you don’t end up with bills following an auto accident, but every case is different.
- I don’t want to pay back my health insurance. Unfortunately, this is likely nonnegotiable. The majority of health insurance companies retain their right to subrogation. Health Insurance that is part of Federal Programs will likely not negotiate on their lien. Attorneys are required to notify health insurance and pay back perfect liens.
- I don’t want to pay my deductible.Your Deductible was negotiated by you in your application for PIP Insurance. You attorney will use your outstanding deductible to raise your settlement value. Ultimately, you may have to pay your deductible in full.