Medical Bills: Who Pays Them?

Who pays your medical bills? This is the most common question that we are asked. The reason it is so common is that it is a complicated answer. In a vehicle collision claim there is a hierarchy of which insurance company pays the bills, and in what order. This can vary from state to state, and commonly varies depending on what type of insurance YOU have. Yes, your insurance coverage is central to this issue.

The usual hierarchy of insurance payments for medical bills only goes like this:

1st Your private health insurance should initially pay all (or part) of any medical bill. This is because in Montana, you usually do not have to pay back your private health insurance from the proceeds you receive from the responsible driver’s insurance. Repayment is called subrogation, and that does not typically happen for health insurance, so this is money that you are saving, thus why they pay first.

2nd Your personal vehicle insurance is the next in line to pay your medical bills. If you have an optional coverage called “medical payments coverage.” This is a premium you pay for that is there to pay your medical bills when you are in an accident, regardless of who is at fault. Again, you don’t pay this insurance back out of the proceeds from the responsible driver, so you are saving money again.

3rd The responsible party’s insurance coverage. This is called Third Party coverage (see glossary). They are the last and final party to pay for your medical bills, unless you do not have the above coverages. This is because they will pay for your medical bills regardless of if they are paid by health insurance or med pay. Thus, you are paid twice for the medical bills if you have the other insurances available, and you get to keep any money that is more than what the medical bills are.

This is fairly complicated, and usually takes a fair knowledge of insurance law and policies. It is the main reason to have an attorney represent you, as most people we talk to have no idea about what insurance coverage they even have, let alone are able to navigate the insurance system to ensure that they receive the most money they can and deserve in an injury event. Please contact us today for a free evaluation.