By David Peel
Once you’re home from the hospital after a car accident, not only are your household bills still coming in, but now the medical bills begin to pile up. Ambulance, hospital, ER physician, radiologist, pathology and even doctors you are not sure what they did. The bills pile up and panic does too. When we are in a situation that we cannot control or don’t know what to do, we begin to panic. This is probably the worst thing to do, alongside ignoring this financial problem. It will only get worse. Take a look at articles like How Families Can Prepare For Unexpected Medical Expenses to prevent this from happening to you or to find out more if you are in a similar financial situation. There’s no escaping medical bills, but there sure are ways that this can be made easier to handle.
Your instinct is to tell all your providers that this was from a car accident that wasn’t your fault and if they have insurance on the car, you should bill the car insurance. The problem with that is it will not work.
Make sure you understand medical providers do not generally bill a third-party such as the insurance company for the car that hit you. Believe it or not, you are still responsible for your medical care and bills along your path of recovery until the case is resolved. And at a successful resolution, by settlement or verdict, you are then reimbursed.
Then what do you do? Well if you have health insurance be sure to run every medical bill through health insurance. Call the ambulance and emergency room and each doctors’ bill that you get and make absolutely sure they have all your insurance information. Often times when you’re pulled out of a car they don’t get your insurance card at the hospital. Call each provider and make sure they have the proper information. This is for two reasons. Number one, your medical bills will get paid faster by health insurance then the other option. Number two, even if you have a really large deductible, your health insurance has often negotiated an agreed rate with your provider and you will get the benefit of that discount before the bill comes due. Sometimes it is very significant. Recently, there was a $6,300 hospital bill and it was re-priced to about $1,000. The hospital wrote off the $5,300.00 in this example. Then, you can make payments against the $1,000, but only after you have arranged for any future care.
If you unfortunately find that your health insurance does not cover the cost of any accident you have had, you may want to consider the idea of taking out a loan to be able to pay your medical expenses. For any company you find yourself looking into, be sure to check the website so you gain a full understanding of what you are getting yourself into. Finding the right solution to sorting your medical bills is very important, so you want to make sure you are all clued up.
Remember, always put future care ahead of paying for past care. Past care is simply now a bill. And while you want to pay all your bills and not owe them if there’s a limited income you choose future care first. Future care gets you back to work faster and protects your source of income which is your ability to work.
Medical bills a few months old are not reported to credit on a general basis and will usually settle for a small amount each month to stay content. I’ve had clients do that for months without any complications.
Now beyond medical insurance, you may have medical payments coverage on your car. I know, you’re worried about bringing your own insurance from your car into an accident where it wasn’t your fault.
The good news is that is what medical insurance is there for. It does not count against you and it gets collected back on the backend or at least accounted for at the settlement in one way or the other. But I like to have that sent directly to us to benefit the client rather than to pay past medical bills. For example, to pay $5,000 limits of coverage let’s say on the $6,300.00 bill. That $6,300 bill might be $1,000 after health insurance so there’s no reason to pay them all the $5,000. Instead, the $5,000 can reimburse the client and can be used to pay other out-of-pocket expenses along the way. So, there is an art to this especially if one does it early on in the case to coordinate benefits. This is something that we do routinely in our office.
Peel seeks justice for those injured in tractor trailer and car accidents, medical malpractice, and disability. He often addresses churches, clubs and groups without charge. Peel may be reached through PeelLawFirm.com wherein other articles may be accessed.