If you were injured in a car accident, you should know that most automobile insurance companies will not pay your medical bills while you treat. In other words, if you are currently treating for your injuries and are sending the other insurance company your bills, it’s rare for the other insurance company to pay your bills “as you go.”
Instead, what the other side’s insurance adjuster will want is a full and complete medical history from you (through a HIPAA Authorization), access to your private medical history (even for things completely unrelated to your injuries), and will want to obtain all of your medical bills before they agree to reimburse you and compensate you for any medical bills that you have sustained as a result of an injury from a car accident. Even if the other side’s insurance company agrees to eventually pay your medical bills, they will want to do so only when you are ready to settle your case completely. Oftentimes, this is not possible when you are receiving your medical treatment.
Won’t my medical providers bill the other side’s insurance company?
Unfortunately, no. In a car accident case, medical providers consider the other driver’s insurance company as a “third party payor.” In other words, they will look to bill any and all “first party” insurance, and that may include you personally. Instead of billing the other side’s insurance company, the medical provider will require you to obtain your bills and send them to other side’s insurance company for payment. The other side’s insurance company will then ask for nearly all of your private medical history, that they typically do not need, in order to find ways to deny compensation for your injuries.
We have seen cases where adjusters claim that twenty or thirty year old injuries to our clients caused our client’s new injuries. As a result, they refuse to pay and we are forced to file suit. However, if you are trying to work your case out on your own and are expecting for the other party’s insurance company to pay your bills as you go or at the end of your treatment, then you may be stuck with large medical bills and no way to pay them because the insurance adjuster is refusing to pay. Then, the medical providers may send your bills to debt collectors.
What are my options, then?
You have options. If you have health insurance, then your health insurance should cover treatment for your injuries. Some people don’t feel like this is fair because they think the other side’s automobile insurance should pay their bills. Unfortunately, as you can see from the above, medical providers and automobile insurance companies do not really work this way. Therefore, to avoid your bills going to collections, you should always try to have your health insurance cover your bills instead of relying on the other side’s automobile insurance company to do so.
If you do not have health insurance, then you still have options. For more information about options when you are uninsured, please see our page about options when you do not have health insurance. Also, the medical provider may place a medical lien on your case and may not require you to pay your bills until your case is resolved.
KEY THINGS TO NOTE ABOUT MEDICAL BILLS AND INSURANCE:
- Medical providers will almost universally refuse to bill the other driver’s automobile insurance company in a car accident case;
- This means you are responsible for obtaining your medical bills and providing the other insurance company with your medical records, which may include private health insurance information unrelated to your case;
- If you expect the other driver’s insurance company to pay your medical bills, then you may face a situation where your claim is denied and the medical provider tries to collect from your directly;
- You should always do everything you can to avoid having medical bills affect your credit. This means having your health insurance company pay your medical bills or work with providers to make sure they will not collect from you during your medical treatment.
Dealing with medical bills and the other side’s automobile insurance company can be stressful and difficult to understand. Unfortunately, there’s no easy way to deal with outstanding medical bills and there’s no guarantee they will ever be paid by the other side. As a result, you should consider consulting a knowledgeable Missouri car accident attorney about what options you have when it comes to your medical bills and what options you have to pay for them.
At the Law Office of Mike Campbell, our attorneys have extensive knowledge in dealing with the other side’s insurance company and experience working with medical providers in an attempt to make sure that medical bills do not affect your good credit. To learn how we can help, get in touch today.