Health Insurance vs. Car Insurance: Who Pays What in a Car Accident?

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You’ve been injured in a car accident. What’s worse, it wasn’t your fault. You’re rushed to the hospital for treatment. A few weeks later you receive a large medical bill. So, who’s supposed to foot the bill … the other driver’s car insurance company or your health insurance? One thing is certain, the bill still has to be paid. In situations like this, here’s what you need to know.

The Car Insurance Company Pays First

In many states, hospitals and medical facilities usually work with car insurance companies to determine whose insurance pays for what. This ensures that the responsible party’s policy pays for any medical bills up to policy limits. Whose insurance company pays depends in part on what type of state you live in, an at-fault or no-fault state.
In an at-fault state, the liability insurance for the at-fault driver is supposed to pay for any of your medical costs associated with a car accident that they cause. Of course, this is limited by their policy maximum payout per person and per accident.
Some states even have medical payments (MedPay) coverage, which helps pay the medical costs associated with a car accident. Just like the personal injury protection (PIP) coverage offered in other states, MedPay is designed to pay for injuries regardless of who’s at fault.
In the absence of insurance on the at-fault party’s part, your uninsured motorist insurance (if you have it) should pay for any medical costs up to policy limits. In addition, if the at-fault party’s insurance doesn’t have enough coverage to pay for all of the medical costs, then any underinsured motorist coverage you have should pay for anything over, up to your policy limit.
In no-fault states, your personal injury protection (PIP) coverage should pay for any injuries you suffered in an accident, regardless of who was at fault. PIP is designed to be quick in its payout and hopefully keep any litigation out of the courts. Fortunately, you can increase how much your PIP coverage pays out if you feel that the minimum required coverage amounts won’t be enough.

When Your Health Insurance Comes Into Play

Only after your or the other driver’s car insurance have paid out their maximum amounts will any additional costs be paid for by your health insurance. Of course, as with any time you receive medical treatment, you’ll first have to meet any deductibles before your health insurance company will start to pay out.
You’ll also need to make any co-pay or co-insurance payments as a part of your treatment. In addition, there might be some charges that aren’t covered by your medical insurance. In cases such as this, you’ll have to pay the related charge.

You Have to Pay What Is Left Over

If you do have to pay some expenses out of pocket, many states will allow you to recover your expenses in court, especially if you’re not the at-fault driver. This will include any pain and suffering that you have to go through as a part of your treatment and recovery.
You can also seek reimbursement for other charges you had to pay as the result of a car accident, including any deductibles, co-pays, or co-insurance costs. Your best bet if you end up paying any medical costs associated with a car accident that wasn’t your fault is to seek legal representation.
Regardless of who’s at fault in a car accident, you should always talk to an agent from your car insurance company. They can best advise you to the steps you need to take to guarantee that your bills are paid in a timely manner and that you’re back at full health in no time.

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