A brief overview and some frequently asked questions.
Medical Payment Coverage is basically medical insurance offered through most auto insurance companies – – it covers medical expenses up to the limit purchased. It pays regardless of fault for injuries related to an automobile collision, so it is considered a no fault provision within the policy. It usually comes with limits such as $1,000, $5,000 or $10,000. That means it will pay your reasonable medical expenses up to the limit purchased per person in your vehicle.
Do I have to be in my own car for my med-pay insurance policy to pay my medical bills? No. The med-pay insurance coverage you purchase will cover you or a family member in your household if you are in someone else’s car or if you or a family member in your household is walking and are injured when struck by a car!
Why would I purchase Med-Pay Insurance if I have health insurance? Many of California’s HMO’s have large deductibles or co-pays for emergency and continuing care. You can use the med-pay insurance to pay those deductibles/co-pays and also to pay for services that your HMO does not cover.
Isn’t Med-Pay Insurance just another expensive add-on to my policy? No. Med-Pay Insurance is dirt cheap compared to health insurance. While most families can pay over a thousand dollars per month for health insurance, Med-Pay Insurance can be purchased for under $50 per year and it covers everyone in your car, even passengers not covered by your HMO.
Do I have to reimburse my Med-Pay Insurance carrier if they pay my bills? If you are at fault in the collision and do not pursue a claim against the other party, then no, you would not have to pay them back. If you are not at fault and do make a claim against the at-fault party then you might have to pay back your carrier. Some carriers have reimbursement provisions some do not. Even if your carrier does have a reimbursement provision, you will probably will not have to pay them back everything that they paid.
Why should I use my Med-Pay Insurance or health insurance if I am not at fault for the accident? Believe it or not, in California the insurance carrier for a negligent driver who caused your injury is not required by state law to pay your bills as you incur them. If you don’t get care for a few weeks, they will then tell you that you waited too long and any care you already received was not related to the accident.
An insurance adjuster for the at fault party will typically tell a claimant that you need to see your own doctor and they will pay your bills all at once, at the end of the claim. This is a lie. The same adjuster who promised to pay your bills at the end of the claim will do an about face and tell you the bills are too high or they are not related to the injury so they are not paying all of the claim. Using your own insurance whether it be med-pay insurance or your health insurance, short circuits these arguments.