WHAT IS MEDICAL PAYMENTS COVERAGE?
Medical payments coverage is insurance through your automobile insurance to help pay for medical bills that you or a passenger in your car sustain in a car accident, trucking accident, or motorcycle accident, regardless of who is at fault for the collision. This coverage is separate from liability coverage, comprehensive collision coverage, and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, so you must request this coverage when purchasing automobile insurance. You will pay a separate premium for medical payments coverage, but the cost is usually relatively inexpensive.
Medical payments coverage can be purchased in a variety of amounts, and the amount you purchase is the per accident limit for each person injured in your vehicle at the time of an accident. How much you should purchase depends on a few factors. First, if you have health insurance, you probably still need medical payments coverage. You should review your health insurance policy, and determine how much your per person or family deductible is and what your co-payment amount is, and purchase at least enough medical payments coverage to cover your deductibles and maximum co-payment amount. For example, if your health insurance has a $1,000 yearly deductible and 20% co-insurance, you should purchase enough medical payments coverage to cover this amount, such as $2,500 or $5,000. This way, you can ensure you have enough medical payments coverage to pay any out of pockets medical bills you may get if you are injured in an accident. You will want to increase this amount if your deductibles and/or co-insurance are higher.
If you do not have health insurance, medical payments coverage in your automobile policy is a must. Without health insurance, you are left to pay the medical bills you incur due to an accident until you get a settlement or judgment against the at-fault driver. And this can take several months or years to obtain. And your providers are not going to wait that long to be paid for the services they have already provided you. If you do not have health insurance, you should have at least $10,000 in medical payments coverage, and we would recommend no less than $25,000 if you can afford the extra premium. Otherwise, you may be faced with being unable to pay your medical bills if you are involved in an accident, which could result in negative consequences to your credit or force you into bankruptcy.
If you do have health insurance, and are involved in an accident, give the hospital and your medical providers your health insurance information only and demand they process your bills through your health insurance!!! DO NOT give them your automobile insurance information, no matter how many times they request it. Medical payments coverage is for you so you can pay your out-of-pocket medical expenses, such as co-pays and deductibles. If your providers bill your med pay before your health insurance, they will use it all up leaving you with nothing to pay your out-of-pocket expenses. Your health providers have entered into contracts with your health insurance company to accept a set reduced amount for their services, and they want to avoid that agreement by billing your automobile insurance, which does not offer the same savings on costs. This is not fair to you, since you have paid premiums for your health insurance and paid for the agreed reduced price negotiated between your health insurance company and doctors. For a more in depth discussion on this issue, see our blog post entitled “Who Should Pay My Medical Bills” found on our website.
The information contained in this blog post is general information, and should not be treated as legal advice. No attorney/client relationship exists between the reader and Lafferty, Gallagher & Scott, LLC without a signed Attorney Contract Agreement of Representation. Each case is unique and past results should not be treated as a guarantee of the results in your case.