If you received any sort of medical treatment after a car accident, you will have to worry about medical bills and health insurance claims as well as auto insurance claims. Auto insurance should cover your medical treatment, but hospitals prefer not to wait to work out who was at fault. If you were not able to give them your health insurance information (if any) when you arrived, they will probably try to bill you personally. You or your lawyer should be able to get the bill sent to the appropriate party later.
If you have both medical and auto insurance, you may be wondering which will pay for your medical costs. In Washington, the hospital will start by billing you personally or billing the medical insurance company whose information you provide. Later, after you make your auto insurance claim, you or your health insurer may be reimbursed by the other driver’s auto insurer. If you are among the few drivers who have medical payment coverage on your auto insurance policy, your own insurance company may reimburse you.
If you have no-fault insurance or Personal Injury Protection (called PIP coverage), your auto insurance company should pay. The hospital may bill you personally at first, especially if you could not provide them with insurance information when you arrived, but it should be simple to transfer the obligation to your insurer. You may still have a deductible under your PIP policy. If your bills are higher than the amount of PIP coverage you have, any medical insurance will take over after your auto insurance coverage is used up.
If there are problems, keep in mind that in Washington you (the patient) are ultimately responsible for your own medical bills, regardless of whether some insurance policy should cover it. That means you should act quickly if the insurance company refuses to meet its obligations.
If your PIP policy has been exhausted, then in most cases your private health insurer should be paying the medical bills. Sometimes your private health insurer will need written confirmation from your PIP auto policy carrier that the limits have been exhausted. If so, just call your PIP claims representative and ask him or her to send this letter immediately. You should also follow up with the PIP adjuster in writing so you have a record of your communications.
But what if you don’t have private health insurance or PIP coverage? This is a difficult situation. If this is the case, you may be obligated to pay your healthcare providers out of pocket. Sometimes we can work out a suitable arrangement with your doctors to either wait for payment, or make small monthly payments. It depends on how reasonable and willing your healthcare provider is.
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