Being involved in a car crash can be very stressful. Not only are you coping with physical and emotional pain, but you must also deal with medical bills. If you go to the emergency room after the crash, you will likely receive several bills for that one emergency room visit. You will get a bill from the hospital, but also from the ER physician, the laboratory department, and the radiology department, to name a few. If you are admitted and consult with any type of specialty doctor, such as a neurologist or orthopedic doctor, or if surgery is required, you will receive additional bills for the cost of those services. In addition, you will probably follow up with your primary care doctor who may refer you to a specialty doctor or even physical therapy, depending on your injuries. Even with health insurance, your bills for co-pays and deductibles can add up fast.
What many people do not know is that one of the quickest ways to recoup some of the money you spend after being injured in a car crash is to look to your own auto insurance policy. In Virginia, Medical Payments Coverage (Medpay) allows you to get reimbursement for medical bills after a car crash.
TIP #1: How Medpay Works
Medpay will reimburse you for related medical bills incurred for 3 years after a crash. Check the declaration page of your auto insurance policy. If you pay a premium for Medpay, then you are entitled to receive the benefits.
Once you verify your benefits, you can submit your medical bills and records under the Medpay portion of your auto insurance policy for reimbursement even if they have been paid by health insurance. You may be reimbursed for the “incurred expense,” the amount paid by your health insurance provider to your health care provider, as well as your out-of-pocket expenses for co-pays or deductibles. The check comes directly to you. If your bills were paid my Medicare, your auto insurance carrier will reimburse Medicare directly.
TIP #2: Medpay has Restrictions
There are limits with Medpay, so you should check your auto insurance policy declaration page to verify the amount of coverage available.
Most people have the minimum Medpay coverage of $2,000 per vehicle on the policy. The amount of coverage is per vehicle. This means if two vehicles are covered on the same auto policy, you are eligible for up to a maximum of $4,000 in Medpay reimbursement. You can add additional Medpay coverage to your policy by contacting your insurance carrier.
Medpay coverage is available for a variety of types of medical care, as long as you can prove the care is related to your accident. This includes medical, hospital, dental, surgical, ambulatory, chiropractic, and rehabilitation care, as well as funeral expenses if a loved one is killed in a crash.
TIP #3: Medpay Timeframe and When It May Apply To You or Your Family
Crash victims do not need to immediately notify the insurance company of their injuries to receive Medpay payments although it is a good idea to do so. Claims for Medpay can cover related expenses for up to three years after the crash.
In Virginia, Medpay is no-fault coverage, which means it does not matter whether the crash was your fault or not. The coverage is intended to help you with medical expenses following the crash. The coverage is also available if you are injured in a crash as a passenger in another vehicle. You may file a claim with your insurance carrier for Medpay coverage even if you were not in a vehicle covered on your policy. Every case has a different set of facts, so the coverage available to you depends on the type and the amount of insurance on the vehicles involved.
TIP # 4: Should You Buy Medpay Coverage?
Every company selling auto insurance in Virginia must offer Medpay coverage. If you do purchase Medpay, you must pay a premium—it is not free! The good news is that coverage is not expensive, so we advise everyone to obtain as much Medpay as they can afford. The coverage must extend to passengers and anyone else injured in the covered vehicle. If you have Medpay coverage and you are injured as a pedestrian by a vehicle, you should also have coverage. Talk to your insurance agent about what best fits your situation and your budget.
Tip # 5: How Difficult Is It To Get Reimbursement From the Medpay Carrier
Despite the required coverage, insurance companies might be reluctant to offer you reimbursement in a timely fashion. Carriers are becoming more and more difficult to deal with in Medpay claims, in our experience. Unless you know how to file a claim for reimbursement under the Medpay coverage, there is a chance you will not get a timely response. Working with an experienced attorney who specializes in personal injury cases will help ensure that you get the benefits to which you are entitled. If not, the attorney can file a lawsuit in order to get the benefits paid.
For more information, here is a direct link to the Virginia Code regarding Medpay http://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/title38.2/chapter22/section38.2-2201/.
If you have questions about Medpay, contact the legal team at WilliamsFord.