Even though health insurance is now mandated by law, not everyone can afford coverage. If you are in a car accident, not having health insurance can be a serious problem. The inability to pay for your medical treatment can result in a failure to receive treatment at all, which can result in cause long-term damage and related side effects.
You can recover for medical care from the at-fault party in a car accident. However, the at-fault party is under no obligation to pay your medical care as the bills are incurred. Instead, if you win your case or obtain a favorable settlement, these benefits will be paid in a lump sum. This is troublesome because medical bills are due immediately, and hospitals often will not wait to collect based on your personal injury claim.
Even when you do not have health insurance, you may have other options while your personal injury claim is pending. Your personal injury lawyer will be able to walk you through these options as they apply to your particular circumstance.
No Fault Insurance
In Massachusetts, your PIP coverage will pay for the first $2,000 of your medical expenses. It may also pay up to $8,000 if you do not have health insurance as well. This coverage applies immediately, so there is no need to wait for the final outcome of your claim. Your PIP coverage will also include an amount for lost wages while you recover, regardless of who is at fault for the accident.
Medical Payment Coverage
Some insurance policies have additional terms that specifically address medical payments. These are commonly referred to as “med pay” coverage. If you have this type of optional coverage, you may be able to use it to pay for your medical treatment up to a certain dollar amount. Usually, the limitation is under $10,000. If your medical bills exceed your coverage, you will be responsible for the remainder. You may also be able to use the at-fault driver’s med pay coverage as well. They may pay for at least some portion of your medical bills.
For those that cannot afford health insurance, Medicaid may be a viable option. Medicaid is a federal health insurance program that provides medical coverage to low-income individuals that qualify through state agencies. Find your state’s agency to determine whether you would qualify for Medicaid. If you are eligible, they will cover your medical bills going forward, and may even address some of your bills already incurred.
Payment Arrangements with Healthcare Providers
Some healthcare providers and other medical professionals will occasionally work out a payment plan or other payment arrangement with you. This is especially true if you are receiving treatment from someone who specializes in injuries related to car accidents, slip and fall claims, or other personal injury cases.
In some situations, you may be able to work out a deal with the medical care provider where they will receive some portion of your settlement at the end of the case. This type of arrangement commonly involves a “personal injury lien.” Your personal injury attorney can help you create this sort of agreement with your health care provider.
Unfortunately, dealing with medical bills after you have been injured is often extremely difficult. Using some of these techniques, however, can help ease the burden. Call Jim Glaser Law for more information.