One of the biggest misconceptions that we often deal with is what insurance company will be paying for medical bills when an accident is not your fault. In a perfect world, the company that insures the other person that hurt you would pay your bills right away. The reality is that not only do they typically not pay right away, usually they shouldn’t pay right away in Montana.
There is a hierarchy when it comes to what insurance pays medical bills. In Montana, the hierarchy is this: If you have medical payments coverage on your auto insurance – that pays first. This is because you don’t pay that insurance coverage back. So, it is free insurance coverage that will typically pay bills immediately and in full. Next in line to pay if there is no med pay or if it runs out, would be health insurance, or medicare. The reason these are next is because if they pay your bills, you either don’t pay them back, or you pay them back only a percentage of what they actually spent. So that puts money back in your pocket.
As a last resort, or if you don’t have any other insurance coverage, does the other person’s insurance (called 3rd party insurance) pay your medical bills. This is because once they pay them, the money is spent, and you don’t save at all. So, the next time you or someone you know is in an accident don’t automatically expect, or desire, to have the 3rd party pay right away, you may be better off following the hierarchy.
Marty is a former criminal prosecutor in the Cascade County Attorney’s Office and now uses that experience to defend those accused of crimes. A University of Montana School of Law graduate, Marty focuses his practice on personal injury and criminal defense and is a premier DUI defense attorney. He is also well versed in the insurance claims industry and has negotiated significant settlements with nearly every major insurance company.