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Nov 15

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Who Pays? Medical Care After an Injury Collision in Idaho

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One of the big questions our Idaho car crash clients ask is: Who pays my medical bills?

Like so many other parts of the personal injury arena, the answer is: “it depends.” Among the many potential payers are your own (or the driver’s) Medical Payments (“med-pay”) coverage or Personal Injury Protection (PIP) from auto insurance; your health insurance; Medicaid, Medicare or you.Ambulance

Notice what’s missing? That’s right the bad guy and his insurance company. The bad guy may be responsible for the bill ultimately but initially neither he nor his insurance will help you.

It is YOUR Obligation to pay for your medical care BUT there are a number of insurance coverages that may be there to help you deal with that obligation.

The Insurance on the Car you were injured in.

If you were injured in an Idaho car crash, hopefully the car you were in was covered under a med- pay  policy. When you are injured in an Idaho car accident you are an insured of the car you were in. If you were injured in another person’s car and you own your own car you may be able to make a claim on your own car’s insurance also.

Med-Pay is a type of auto insurance coverage that pays medical bills after an accident injury regardless of which driver was at fault.  In Idaho it is generally the primary coverage meaning the med-pay benefits of the insurance policy must be exhausted before other insurance will pay.  PIP is similar to med-pay but often has a wider range of benefits and pays for things in addition to just medical bills.

Your Own Health Insurance

Your health insurance will pay your medical bills from a Idaho car accident. In a collision it is secondary coverage. That means you have to first use up any applicable Med-Pay.

There are  advantages to using health insurance if you are injured in an Idaho car accident.

One is discounts. Health insurance companies get discounts from hospitals and doctors. So the amount they pay is less than the full amount of the bill. This benefits you when it comes time to pay them back. Med-pay on the other hand usually has to pay full price for care.

The other advantage is it stops interest charges.  Medical bills accrue interest like any other outstanding bill.   If you wait to pay your medical bills until your injury case settles you may end up paying a lot of money in interest. And there is the possibility of a collections lawsuit if the bill does not get paid.

If your health insurance pays and you later get a settlement from your Idaho car accident you will need to pay back your health insurance. This called a claim for reimbursement. It is often referred to as “subrogation.” (Although that is technically wrong in many cases)

Medicaid-Medicare and Medical Payments for an Injury Accident in Idaho

Medicare and Medicaid are state and federal medical programs that help pay the medical bills of people who are eligible. Like private health insurance you will have to pay back the government for the care once you resolve your injury case.

Your Own Cash

Unfortunately, if none of the above payors is there to help, you are likely obligated to pay your own medical care.

Uninsured Motorists Coverage

If you have purchased uninsured motorists coverage and the bad guy does not have insurance,  then your own insurance may be obligated to reimburse you for your medical expenses and other losses on an as incurred basis.  Idaho law gives the carrier only 30 days to pay an amount justly due.

The Bad-Guy who caused your Car Wreck

If there was negligence or other legal basis for a claim, you may be able to recover your medical bills by hiring a lawyer to pursue an injury claim from your Idaho car accident.  Injury claims can take time, often several years or more, so, if possible, find a way to get your bills paid with one of the other methods. That avoids interest and possible collections lawsuits. (Not to mention stress.)  In the end, though all the earlier forms of payment will also be “paid back” if you recover sufficient funds from your injury.

Permanent link to this article: http://holzeredwardsinjurylawyers.com/2010/11/who-pays-medical-care-after-an-injury-collision-in-idaho/

2 comments

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  1. Glen Avery

    I got an amount (100k) for my son from the bad guy’s insurance. My health insurance paid over 400k, but they settled early with my lawyer for 22k. Unfortunately, medicaid has so far paid 75k, and they don’t want to settle on any lesser number. After my fees to the attorney are paid, I don’t think my son will get anything. My lawyer says that at the minor’s compromise hearing when the judge decides what to do with the 100k, he can agree to give medicaid less than their whole amount. Is that true? What are the chances?

    1. Kurt Holzer

      Medicaid’s right to repayment is limited by principles that the U.S. Supreme Court adopted in a case called “Ahlborn.” It is certainly more sophisticated than this simple statement but, Medicaid is limited to a proportional recovery. If your sons claim is in Idaho than we can tell you that the Medicaid recovery administrators do seem to have, for their own reasons, adopted a requirement of a litigated resolution. Managing the resolution and distribution of the limited recovery in a catastrophic injury claim requires the lawyer representing your son’s interests to deal with many complex issues and establish the overall value of the claim for the court. I hope the lawyer is presenting all the necessary issues in an appropriate manner as he should. If you have issues or questions you should discuss the specifics with the attorney who has the obligation to represent your son’s interests. It sounds like you need to sit down with the lawyer and make sure that person provides complete answers to your questions. If dissatisfied or you have concerns after those conversation you have the right to raise your concerns with the Judge. Although I do not know the complete facts, your son should absolutely be able to have control of some of the funds in a situation like you describe.
      Best of Luck to You

  1. The Problem with Medical Bills For People Injured In An Idaho Car Crash | Idaho Injury Law Blog

    […] bills has the right to claim reimbursement or assert a “subrogation” interest.  This issue of payment is discussed in more detail in an earlier […]

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