Accidents involving vehicles are the most common type of personal injury accidents our law office handles. It is not uncommon for a person injured in a car, truck, or motorcycle accident to incur thousands of dollars in medical treatment, even with relatively minor injuries.
If you were injured in a car accident, you should check to see if your own car insurance policy has what is known as "medical payments" or "personal injury protection" coverage. This type of insurance is also known as “no fault” insurance because it provides benefits to the injured party regardless of who caused the accident.
If you have this coverage in your car insurance policy, it can be used to reimburse you for your medical bills. It is important to recognize that this coverage is in addition to your health insurance coverage. Together, these coverages can help minimize the amount you pay out-of-pocket for medical treatment of injuries after a car accident.
Missouri Med-Pay Coverage
In Missouri, “no fault” insurance is called medical payments or “med-pay” coverage. Unlike liability or uninsured motorist coverage, Missouri drivers are not legally required to carry medical mayment coverage. However, medical payments coverage is included in most Missouri car insurance policies. The amount of coverage can range from $1,000 to $100,000.
Kansas PIP Coverage
In Kansas, “no fault” coverage is called personal injury protection or “PIP”. Unlike Missouri, Kansas drivers are legally required to carry PIP coverage as part of their car insurance policy. Kansas drivers must have at least $4,500 per individual in PIP coverage. This minimum will cover the medical expenses of an individual injured in an accident up to $4,500. Of course, Kansas drivers may carry more than this minimum amount.
Benefits of Med-Pay and PIP Coverage
There are several benefits of having medical bills paid by PIP or med-pay coverage in a car accident case, including:
- There are no co-pays or deductibles like when using health insurance.
- The bills should be paid promptly instead of at the end of the case.
- The full amount of the bill is paid as long as there is enough coverage available.
You should remember that there are limits on the amount of med-pay or PIP coverage you purchase. This insurance coverage will not pay for anything above the limits. If the patient’s medical bills are substantial and the PIP or med-pay limits are low, you will need an alternative source to pay your medical bills.
PIP and med-pay coverage also require that expenses must be submitted within a certain time of the accident. Generally, the time in which coverage applies ranges from 1 to 3 years from the date of a car accident. You can submit medical bills to the claims agent of your own car insurance company, or if you hire a firm like us, we will handle it for you.
Will Using Med-Pay or PIP Coverage Impact Cost You More?
It may seem odd that you should submit your medical bills to your own car insurance if someone else caused the accident. However, this is exactly why this coverage exists -- to make sure your medical bills are covered no matter what. You also may wonder if your car insurance premiums will increase if you use your med-pay or PIP coverage. You can ask your insurance claims agent or attorney about this, but if you were not at fault for the accident, your insurance premiums should not change because you used the PIP or med-pay coverage you purchased.
How to Minimize Your Out-of-Pocket Medical Bills After an Accident
One of the best way to ensure minimize your out-of-pocket medical expenses for injuries from a car accident is to submit your bills for payment to your health care insurance first. Many health insurance plans will be entitled to discounts on the medical costs and will also pay substantial amounts of total bill. Your health insurance may require you to be responsible for co-pays, which you can then submit to your med-pay or PIP coverage. This billing method insures you will have less out-of-pocket expenses associated with you treatment.
What Are Other Ways to Pay Medical Bills?
In general, you should look to one of the following means to seek payment of your medical bills:
- Your own health insurance from your employment benefits package.
- Your own health insurance that you may have paid for personally.
- Health insurance from the your spouse for the your benefit or from the your parents if you are of an age that qualifies for coverage.
- For vehicular accidents, med-pay or PIP coverage from your own insurance policy if you were driving when injured.
- For vehicular accidents, med-pay or PIP coverage from the person you were riding with if you were a passenger when injured.
- If you are not covered under an insurance plan, you may be eligible for Medicaid. In Kansas, KanCare is the program through which the State of Kansas administers Medicaid. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS) administer KanCare within the State of Kansas. If the you are a resident of Kansas, you can go to your local state office or call 1-800-792-4884 for more information. Missouri's Medicaid program is called MO HealthNet, and it is administered by the Family Support Division of the Missouri Department of Social Services. For more information about eligibility and to apply, you can go to their local Family Support Division Office or call 855-FSD-INFO (855-373-4636).
- The last available source for payment of medical bills is your own personal funds. This is often necessary if you were not insured and when they are able to pay medical bills as they are incurred. However, your lawyer may be able to negotiate and reduce any claims or liens for payment from your health providers as part of the settlement.
Still have questions about how to pay your medical bills after a car accident? For more information about car insurance in Missouri and Kansas, please download a free copy of my book, Buying Car Insurance, from our website. You can also contact our firm by calling (816) 203-0143 or by filling out a form on this website for a free, no-obligation consultation to learn how we can assist you.