If you get hurt in a car accident, you will probably incur some medical bills. But let's say you can’t pay them, or don’t want to pay them. What are your options? Unfortunately, the person who hit you does not have to pay your medical bills as they come in. No state or federal law requires the negligent driver to pay your medical bills on an ongoing basis. So how will the bills get paid?
There are a number of different methods for paying your medical bills:
Many states follow a “no fault” insurance system for motor vehicle accidents. No fault insurance means that your own automobile insurer will pay some or all of your medical bills (and lost earnings) if you get into a car accident, regardless of who was at fault for the accident. Every state’s law is different. In some no fault states, there is a relatively low limit as to the amount of medical bills that will be paid; in other states, the limit is much higher. For example, in some states, the limit might be as low as $2,000, but, in others, it might be as much as $50,000. After your medical bills exceed your state’s no fault limit, you or your health insurers are responsible for paying them.
Many drivers in states that do not have no fault insurance have what is called medical payment insurance coverage(known as “med pay” coverage). “Med pay” coverage will pay the medical bills of drivers or passengers who are involved in a car accident with the insured person, up to the insured’s “med pay” policy limits, which are generally less than $10,000. After your bills exceed the “med pay” policy limits, you will be responsible for paying them. “Med pay” coverage is not always required, so if neither you nor the person at fault have “med pay” coverage, you are responsible for paying the bills. While drivers in no fault states can purchase “med pay” coverage, there is not much need for it, given the existence of no fault coverage.
If your car accident occurred in a no fault state and you have health insurance, your health insurer will pay your medical bills after the amount of your medical exceeds your state’s no fault limit. For example, if the no fault limit is $10,000, and you incurred $15,000 of medical bills, the no fault insurer will pay the first $10,000 of medical bills, and your health insurer will pay the remaining $5,000 of medical bills.
If your car accident did not happen in a no fault state and you have health insurance, your health insurer will pay all of your medical bills as they come in.
One important thing to know about health insurance and car accidents is that, if a health insurer pays for medical bills related to a car accident, it is are entitled to be reimbursed for what it paid your health care providers. Learn more about using health insurance for car accident injuries.
If you are on Medicare and get into a car accident, Medicare, like health insurance, will pay all of your medical bills as they come in. And Medicare, like health insurance, is also entitled to be reimbursed for bills that it paid that were related to a car accident.
Medicaid is a federal program that assists states in providing health insurance to low income people. If you receive health insurance through a state program and get into a car accident, that state program will pay your medical bills, but is, like health insurance and Medicare, entitled to be reimbursed for bills that it paid that were related to a car accident.
If you get hurt in a work-related car accident, your employer’s workers’ compensation insurer will pay all of your medical bills. In a work-related accident, you are not required to pay any money toward your medical bills. You do not have to pay any medical bills or deductibles. Further, many states require the workers’ compensation insurer to reimburse you for transportation expenses (mileage, tolls, and parking) for all of your travel to and from your medical appointments.