If you have been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, you are probably incurring medical bills and expenses. Like most people, you are concerned about how the medical bills are going to get paid. Sure, if you pursue a successful personal injury claim you may be compensated for the medical expenses and bills you accumulate as damages at the end of your claim. But, that can take several months and in some cases, years. So, what about before that time comes? There is one option that is available to cover medical bills that often goes unnoticed. It’s called Medical Payments coverage; a/k/a “MedPay”.
The term “MedPay” refers to medical payments coverage. MedPay is optional insurance coverage that may be purchased and is in addition to the compulsory portions of the standard Massachusetts auto insurance policy. The amount of coverage depends on how much you elect to purchase. MedPay amounts from $5,000 to $10,000 are commonly seen.
In Massachusetts, after a car accident, you are entitled to personal injury protection, or “PIP”, benefits. PIP will cover the first $2,000 in medical bills for the treatment related to your injuries suffered in the car accident. Any medical bills beyond the first $2,000 will be deferred to your private health insurance plan. If you have Medicare or MassHealth then PIP is available to cover the first $8,000 of your medical bills. This may sound great, but in a lot of cases, $2,000 or $8,000 is not enough to cover medical costs for serious injuries.
For Example: One day, you are driving on the Mass Pike. Another car comes speeding out of control and sideswipes you right into the Jersey barrier. In the accident you tear your rotator cuff in your shoulder, sustain a serious back injury and a head injury. An ambulance is called to the scene and you are transported to the emergency room. X-rays are taken of your shoulder and spine. A CT scan is taken of your head. The ER doctors is concerned about your shoulder, so you are referred to an orthopedic surgeon. After meeting with the orthopedic doctor you have an MRI and then a surgical procedure to repair your shoulder. After the surgery you have numerous follow up appointments and a course of physical therapy. It is safe to say that the $2,000 in PIP would have most likely been exhausted well before you even had your surgery. Now you are getting bills in the mail for co-pays and deductibles. What now?
If you had purchased MedPay, the medical bills incurred after PIP was exhausted would have been covered by MedPay as opposed to being submitted and paid by your health insurance company. If your health insurance paid the medical bills after PIP exhausted, then they will most likely place a lien on your personal injury case. This means that they will be paid back for any bills they paid out of your settlement from the car accident case. However, if you purchased MedPay, the remaining medical expenses (up to the limits you purchased) are submitted to your auto insurance to be paid through MedPay. In other words, MedPay can act as the primary medical coverage after PIP benefits have exhausted.
This is something you should consider and talk to your insurance agent about. If you have questions about MedPay or car accident cases in general, feel free to call us at (508) 879-3500. We are happy to talk to you.