Who pays for my medical bills?

by David Herman | March 17th, 2014

The party who caused your injuries is responsible for paying your medical bills. The difficulty is that the medical bills are typically paid at the resolution of your legal case, which might take a considerable amount of time. The hospitals and doctors will not wait for your personal injury settlement to start collecting on outstanding medical bills.

There are four ways of paying medical bills so that your credit is not affected while you wait for your case to settle:

Submit the bills to a health insurance company
Submit the bills to your automobile insurer under a medical payments policy
Send a letter of protection to your treating doctors
Set up a periodic payment plan with the hospitals or doctors

USING YOUR HEALTH INSURANCE. Submitting medical bills to your health insurance company is the best option for avoiding medical debt. Most health insurance companies have standing agreements with hospitals and doctors to pay the bill at a discounted rate. You may be asked to pay a deductible or a co-pay as required by your plan, but they are more manageable than paying the entire bill. To submit the bills to your health insurance company, simply present your insurance card to the hospital or doctor at the time of your treatment. Keep in mind that any payments that your health insurance company makes toward your medical bills will have to be reimbursed out of your settlement proceeds.

MEDICAL PAYMENTS COVERAGE. If you do not have health insurance, the next best option is to submit the medical bills to your automobile insurer for payment under a medical payments provision of your policy. Not all policies have medical payments coverage. Check your policy’s declaration page to see if you have medical payments coverage. Typically, a medical payment policy has a limit of $5000, but some have more and some have less. If you choose to pay your medical bills with your medical payment coverage, the attorneys at Nurenberg Paris will communicate with your automobile insurance carrier to facilitate payment. If your auto insurer pays your medical bills, it will also be reimbursed from the amount of your settlement.

LETTERS OF PROTECTION. If you do not have health or automobile insurance to pay your outstanding medical bills, you may ask your physicians to accept a letter of protection from your attorney. A letter of protection is a written request to your doctor asking him or her to wait until your case settles before sending your unpaid bill to a collection company where it can harm your credit. In exchange, you promise to pay the bill when you settle your case. Please note that many doctors refuse to accept a letter of protection. Your Nurenberg Paris attorney can advise you whether a letter of protection will help in your case.

PAYMENT PLANS. If all else fails, you will have to call the hospital and/or your doctors to set up periodic payment plans that are manageable within your budget. Keep track of every payment you make so that you will be reimbursed from the person who caused your injuries.

At Nurenberg Paris, one of our goals is to protect you from financial harm while we are preparing your case. If you have been in an accident and have outstanding medical bills please call us to discuss your options.