You’ve been in a car accident in Utah. You need medical treatment, but you’re worried about how you’ll pay the medical bill. Or, you’ve been to the hospital, and the bill came in the mail. Who is going to pay this bill?
Too often, clients tell us they haven’t sought medical treatment because they are worried about paying the medical bill. They are in pain, but they don’t want to be stuck with bills.
In this article, we’ll tell you who pays the medical bills. Hopefully, this helps you feel better about getting medical treatment right away.
Remember, putting off medical treatment can become more expensive in the long run.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) is like having health insurance within your car insurance. In Utah, you are required to have PIP coverage. Most PIP coverage is for $3,000 but can be as high as $10,000 or even $100,000 in rare instances. You can find the amount of your PIP coverage by looking at your Declaration Page of your insurance policy. Here’s an example of a Declaration Page showing coverage amounts:
You’ll notice that the second row of this policy shows $10,000 in Personal Injury Protection coverage. That means this person has $10,000 available for his or her medical treatment before health insurance begins paying medical bills. This $10,000 can also go toward the injured person’s health insurance deductible.
If you don’t know the amount you have in PIP coverage, call us, and we can help you find it. You can also ask your insurance agent.
After PIP insurance is all spent, your health insurer is next in line. If you don’t have health insurance, read the section below about “Medical Liens.” Also, you should talk to the hospital about applying for financial assistance. Or you can check with the healthcare marketplace to see whether you can enroll for free health insurance coverage.
If you need to shop for health insurance, www.healthsherpa.com is a great place to go to get a free quote or health coverage.
If you do have health insurance, be sure to give the hospital or doctor’s office a copy of your health insurance card. Also, give your health insurer the names of all the medical providers you visit. Give them this information quickly. If you’re late to file a claim with your health insurer – usually after 1 year – your health insurer will deny payment.
Even if you have health insurance, you will probably have “patient responsibility” amounts that you must pay out-of-pocket. This is the amount your health insurer does not pay. It is typically 20% or 30% of the charged amount but can vary depending on your health insurance policy.
Who pays the patient responsibility amount? Keep reading for the answer.
Next, you can get money from the at-fault driver’s car insurance. This is called liability insurance or bodily injury insurance. For example, you are stopped at a red light when Joey rear-ends you. The car accident is Joey’s fault. Joey has car insurance through Geico. Joey carries $25,000 in liability insurance coverage to pay you for your injuries. (In Utah, the lowest amount someone can carry for injury coverage is $25,000.) Geico will owe you some or all of the $25,000 to help pay your medical bills.
In addition to PIP, you can get more money from your car insurance to help pay for bills. Using the example above, if Geico pays you Joey’s entire $25,000 in coverage, you can get more from your insurance. This is called Underinsured Motorist Coverage or UIM coverage. UIM coverage kicks in when Geico paid all of Joey’s coverage. In Utah, UIM coverage must be at least $25,000. But it can be as high as $1,000,000 or more.
If you look at the Declaration Page above, you’ll see there’s $500,000 in Undersinsured Motorist Coverage. This would be on top of Joey’s $25,000 with Geico.
Never waive your UIM coverage! Yes, that’s right. In Utah, you can waive your UIM coverage. This coverage is cheap and can save your bacon if you’re injured in an accident. In fact, call your agent right away to make sure you did not waive your UIM coverage.
Say that Joey had no car insurance when he hit and injured you. You would not get $25,000 from Geico. Now what? This is where Uninsured Motorist (UM) comes in to play.
UM insurance is more money you can get from your car insurance if Joey is uninsured. Looking at the Declarations Page above, there is $500,000 in UM coverage. In our example, there’s nothing to get from Joey, so you go right to your insurance company and ask for UM money to help pay your bills.
If you don’t have health insurance, liens are a great option. It is usually a one-page agreement between you and a doctor. It is your promise to a doctor that you’ll pay him or her out of the settlement. The doctor treats you now for a promise that you’ll pay them when Joey pays you his $25,000.
There are many great doctors that will treat you on lien. You don’t have to pay them a dime, and they get you better. And you don’t have to stress about medical bills coming in the mail.
Medical liens can be used for all types of treatment – chiropractors, surgeons, physical therapist, concussion specialist, dentist, and any other type of specialty.
You can get a loan on your settlement today. You don’t have to wait for your case to finish before getting money. You can use the loan to pay medical bills.
The interest rates are high on these loans. A typical loan charges an initial 25%, then 3-5% monthly beginning after six months.
Victims of criminal negligence (drunk driver, cell phone usage) in a car accident may apply for benefits with Utah Office for Victims of Crimes (www.crimevictim.utah.gov).
The Utah Office for Victims of Crimes will grant almost $4,000,000 to victims of crimes throughout the State of Utah. Just simply go the link above and click on “File A Claim.” Your application will be reviewed and processed within 60 days. The application is very easy to fill out.
We hope this article is helpful in giving you some idea about how to get your medical bills paid.
Let us know your experience with medical treatment after an accident. What things worried you when having to get medical treatment? We’d love to hear your thoughts and comments.