When you’ve been injured in an auto accident, you have a lot to think about and worry over. Not the least of these worries is figuring out who is going to pay for all of your medical bills. And those medical bills can become financially devastating in a hurry.
According to the California Highway Patrol, nearly 225,000 people are injured in vehicle accidents in the State of California every year. The average cost for the medical treatment of the injuries from those accidents is astronomical. The average ER treatment costs accident victims over $3000. For those victims who required hospitalization, the cost rose to nearly $60,000. When you add in the cost of post-hospitalization rehabilitative care, the average cost hit nearly $100,000. These figures show that any way you cut it, the medical bills for the average car accident in California can be expensive.
So, who pays those bills? Which insurance company is responsible? And if they are paid by an insurance company, will I need to pay that company back? Where does Medi-Cal and/or Medi-Care enter into the picture?
The main problem is that your medical bills are your responsibility, whether you have insurance or not. Bills that don’t get paid within a reasonable timeframe will negatively affect you in the form of collections. If unpaid bills are turned over to collections, it will have a harmful effect on your credit report and credit score. This can have long-reaching effects that take several years to recover from. So it makes sense to get those bills paid as soon as you possibly can, even if it means paying them yourself and getting reimbursed from an insurance company.
Let’s take a look at a few different scenarios related to medical bills and their payment. Between these scenarios, you should begin to get a good idea of how to get your medical bills paid quickly, with the least amount of out of pocket cost to you.
When you have health insurance coverage, that coverage will be what pays your medical bills. All you’ll have to do is provide the hospital and doctors that provide your treatment with all of your insurance information, and they will directly bill your insurance company in most cases. In the case of an accident, they may not want to automatically bill the insurance company, as they may get paid more money if you come to a settlement agreement with your insurance company. This can take time, though, so always insist that they bill your insurance company directly at the time of your treatment. You have the legal right to insist that this is done, and they can not legally refuse. If your health insurance policy has an unpaid deductible or co-pays for treatment, you will still be re
If you do not have health insurance coverage, you still may be able to have your medical treatments paid for by the auto insurance policy of the at-fault driver. If you are at fault, your auto insurance company will pay for the medical treatments. If you have health insurance, your auto insurance coverage could possibly help you pay for your deductible and any co-pay charges that you still must come up with out-of-pocket.
Auto insurance policies will only cover medical expenses up to the amount stated on the policy, so if you have coverage up to $100,000, and your treatment costs add up to $150,000, you would still be responsible for $50,000. It pays to carry as much insurance coverage as you can afford to buffer your finances against a situation like this.
If you qualify for Medi-Cal or Medi-Care, these types of insurance coverages will also help you pay your medical bills. You will have to qualify by income and family size first. It is also possible that the doctors you see will not accept Medi-Cal or Medi-Care payments. More and more doctors are not accepting these coverages. But it pays to inquire and see whether you qualify and whether the medical providers
If you are devoid of any type of insurance coverage, your medical bills are your sole responsibility to pay. The medical providers will not wait until you settle your case for you to pay, so it is essential that you keep lines of communication open with the billing offices. Let them know that you have an open claim or lawsuit and that you are working with an attorney on a settlement. They will not put a hold on the bills, but you can work out a low monthly payment plan that will show good faith until your
When your treatments have ended, and you have physically recovered from all of your injuries, you can then begin to settle your claim. The entire amount of all of your medical bills will be included in your damages. If you have insurance, you will reimburse their payments to medical professionals for your treatment out of the compensation you receive. Your personal injury attorney will help you navigate the entire process
Keep in mind that an experienced personal injury attorney will be able to negotiate with health insurance companies, auto insurance companies, government entities such as Medi-Cal and Medi-Care to have what you owe them reduced – sometimes by as much as 50%. Your attorney will know the laws to cite, and the proper techniques to utilize to negotiate with the insurance companies.