Paying your medical bills during your auto accident case
If you have been Seattle car accident and escaped injury, it is stressful enough. What happens when you are seriously injured and need medical attention? Who pays for your ongoing medical care while you fight with the insurance company? Read on to find out.
Paying your medical bills if you have PIP
What is PIP?
Personal injury protection, or PIP, is through your own auto insurance provider and will pay your medical bills and loss of wages regardless of who is at fault. Even though it isn’t legally required and you may never have to use it, PIP could end up being one of the best investments you ever make. Like collision and comprehensive coverage, PIP allows you to buy different coverage amounts and can cost as little as $7.00 extra dollars a month. If you are like many Americans without health insurance or not enough health insurance, PIP could prevent financial ruin while your case is in progress.
How do I use PIP?
In the State of Washington, PIP coverage amounts are between $10,000 and $35,000 and while there is no limit to what PIP will cover, the insurance company (even your own provider) wants to pay the least amount of money possible. Your insurance company will only pay for treatment that they deem to be reasonable, necessary and caused by the accident.
Will Using PIP Cause My Insurance Rates to Go Up?
No. Washington State law prevents insurance companies from raising your rates after you make a claim against your PIP insurance. You will, however, have to pay back some or all of the money that PIP covers once your case is over.
Paying your medical bills if you have health insurance
For the lucky individuals that do have health insurance, your treatment can be covered as long as it fits within your plan. However, if your plan doesn’t cover all the treatment that you need, you may have to pay for some things. The specifics vary from plan to plan.
Paying your medical bills if you have no PIP and no health insurance
In a perfect world we would all have health insurance and PIP, but unfortunately this is not the case for a lot of people. The question is what do you do when you don’t have health insurance and you don’t have PIP but you need treatment? Well, there are a couple different things you can do to prevent yourself from financial ruin. These options can also be useful if you have health insurance, but your plan doesn’t cover everything you need.
- Ask your doctor if they will allow you to receive treatment on a lien. This means they will provide all the necessary treatment you need without up-front payment, with a guarantee that you will pay them once your case is settled. Usually doctors will only do this if a lawyer is involved in your case and provides them with a letter of guarantee confirming that they will do all they can to settle the case.
- Most hospitals won’t treat on a lien and in that situation the next step would be to ask about a payment plan. This would allow you to make smaller monthly payments so that you aren’t sent to collections.
If you are unable to make monthly payments and you cannot find a doctor that will treat you on a lien, the other option would be to talk to the hospital about charity care. If you qualify, the hospital will drastically reduce your fees and in some cases treat you for free.
There is more help for you in our FREE book
If you have been in a Seattle auto accident and need an attorney, you are no doubt reeling from the stress. Jason Epstein is an experienced personal injury lawyer in Seattle and has represented hundreds of auto accident victims in Seattle, Bellevue, and King County. His book The Truth About Washington Auto Accidents is an easy read to give you a head start in choosing the right attorney for your case, dealing with your medical expenses while treating, and much more. Best of all, this book is free to residents of Washington State. Order this book now on our website.