Should You Use Your Health Insurance After an Accident That Wasn't Your Fault?

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It's OK to Use Your Health Insurance After An Accident

You're probably getting a lot of different opinions and information on whether you should use your health insurance to pay for the medical treatment you need after a serious accident.  The hospital probably required it and got it from you when you were admitted.  But maybe now you are seeing a specialist for follow up, rehab or physical therapy.

Doctor's offices, the other driver's insurance company, your friends and family - all may be telling you to do something different.

Unless you were working at the time of the crash (and eligible for workers comp benefits, which include payment of medical treatment) we usually recommend using your health insurance to pay for your medical treatment after the accident.  Here's why:

      1.  The other driver's insurance won't pay your medical bills directly (that's a common misconception - that you can just bill the other driver's insurance company - it doesn't work that way.  If you can prove your damages from the accident that was caused by someone else, you may be able to get a settlement at the end of the process, but they don't pay as you go through the treatment.

      2. Agreeing to pay your doctors out of the settlement, so they don't bill your insurance, is a bad idea (for you - it's great for the doctors, they make more money off you).  Because if you do this, you will sign something agreeing to pay the doctor the full amount of the charges, and you will be obligated to repay this even if the case doesn't settle, you lose, or you don't recover much.

      3.  What if the other driver doesn't have enough insurance coverage to pay your medical bills? If you are in the ICU or have an extended hospitalization and surgeries, how do you pay for that? Unless you have high uninsured motorist coverage limits, you're probably screwed.  By the way, you can protect yourself and your family from financial disaster after an accident by increasing your UM or UIM coverage - call us for more info on this.

      4. You want the best treatment for your injuries as soon as you can get it - don't let billing issues delay your medical treatment.

      5.  You may have to repay your health insurance from a settlement (you may not - depending on where you live and where you get your health insurance - check with us on this!) but it will be significantly less than you would owe if you paid the doctors directly for your medical treatment.

There are 5 good reasons (and there are plenty more) to use your health insurance to pay for medical treatment after an accident.  That's what it's there for - don't let anyone tell you otherwise!

For other great tips on what to do after a serious car accident in the DC area, order our FREE, no obligation guide (it will even help you decide whether you need a lawyer for your injury case) by clicking the icon on the left.  Or call us at (202) 393 - 3320 and we'll get it right over to you.

Frank R. Kearney, Attorney-at-Law
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Experienced DC Workers' Comp, Long Term Disability & Accident Lawyer