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After an accident, you may be confused about who is responsible for paying for your medical bills. You may require immediate medical care and receive the bill long before any type of settlement is reached. You will not receive any financial compensation for your medical costs until you achieve a settlement, assuming that the insurance company agrees to pay. Knowing how to pay for your medical bills in the meantime can help improve your peace of mind.
Your health insurance provider is often the first point of contact for medical bill payment after an accident. The medical provider may state that it will not be your health insurance that pays for your bills, but this is incorrect unless you have a different insurance company that is considered your primary insurer, such as during a workers’ compensation claim. Give the hospital or doctor’s office your current health insurance information at the time that you are checked in.
If you are not responsible for paying for your medical care, such as if an investigation shows that you did not cause the accident, your health insurance company will most likely use a process known as insurance subrogation to seek reimbursement for what it spent on your medical bills from the at-fault party. Subrogation allows a health insurance carrier to legally pursue reimbursement from a third party that caused the insurance loss.
It is generally faster to receive a benefits check from your own auto insurance provider than another driver’s, even if you didn’t cause a car accident. If you have uninsured or underinsured motorist insurance, personal injury protection, or medical payments insurance, your own insurance provider may pay for your medical bills upfront with a first-party insurance claim. Then, if you were not at fault for the accident, your auto insurance carrier can demand reimbursement from the insurance provider of the other driver.
Another option may be obtaining a letter of protection from a personal injury lawyer. A letter of protection, also referred to as a personal injury lien, is a document guaranteeing the medical care provider that it will receive reimbursement if it agrees to pay for your medical bills upfront or pause your payments.
A letter of protection states that once a settlement or judgment award is obtained, it will be used to pay any outstanding bills. It is a way of delaying payments to hospitals and doctors while your personal injury case is still ongoing. A letter of protection is a contract between you, your attorney and the hospital that requires you to pay the medical provider first if you receive any settlement funds.
It may be possible to negotiate with a hospital or health care provider to create a more affordable payment plan for your medical care while you wait for an insurance settlement. Some hospitals are willing to provide a reduced rate for services while a settlement is pending. You may need assistance from an attorney to negotiate with your health care provider, depending on the circumstances.
If you suffered a serious injury that will take a long time to heal, you may be able to obtain a letter from your doctor that can help you qualify for disability benefits. These benefits, available from government programs such as Supplemental Security Income, can help you pay for your medical care and other expenses while you wait for a settlement. Even after you receive a personal injury settlement, you may qualify to continue receiving disability benefits if your recovery is expected to take longer than one year.
Figuring out how to pay your medical bills before a settlement is reached can be overwhelming. Ask for assistance from a personal injury attorney in Kansas City so that you can focus your energy on healing.