Q: I have health insurance through my work. After my motor vehicle collision I was told that my auto insurance should pay for my medical bills. But when I called my insurance agent, she said I don’t have coverage for medical bills. Who should pay for my medical bills after an accident?
A: Your own auto insurance will only pay for medical bills after an accident if you have Personal Injury Protection (PIP) or Medical Payments (Med-Pay) coverage. PIP coverage is excellent coverage that is relatively inexpensive, so it’s a coverage you should always add to your auto insurance policy. If you do have either of these coverages, they are generally considered to be primary sources of medical insurance, meaning that you need to use all the available benefits under them before utilizing your health insurance.
However, if you do not have either of these automotive coverages, then your health insurance should apply and take care of your bills, (subject to your normal co-pays and deductibles and other policy limitations). If a third person is responsible for the collision, their insurance should ultimately pay for the bills, but only at the conclusion of your case. Your health insurance or auto insurance if applicable should pay the bills up front, and then usually are reimbursed from any final settlement.
If you do not have PIP on your auto policy or medical insurance, some medical providers will treat injury patients on a medical lien until their case is settled with the insurance company. This arrangement requires the patient to be represented by an attorney for their accident case.