There is question I hear on a near daily basis from clients and potential clients.
Should I file my medical bills with my own health insurance?
The answer is yes. At least in North Carolina, it is always better to file your bills with your insurance. Understandably, many people are a bit confused by this proposition. So, I would like to explain.
The accident was not your fault. You want the other driver to cover all your bills. You deserve to have your bills covered, and you will. But, in the meantime, a lot of unpleasant things can take place. These things can all be avoided by simply filing your bills with your own insurance. The first priority for you after an accident should be to get your injuries treated. Many health care providers will not even begin treatment without proof of insurance. Don’t play with your health. Provide your own insurance information. When the case settles, the other driver will cover the costs.
Many times, These costs will end up being smaller with insurance also.
Another thing that worries people is that they won’t be able to claim bills they file with their insurance. This is not true. The law lets you claim reimbursement for your medical bills that are reasonable and necessary for your injuries — regardless of whether your health insurance has paid. And, don’t worry about losing out on money from your settlement because you had to pay it back to your insurance company. Under North Carolina law health insurance providers are not allowed to be reimbursed from a settlement.
Some people might be uncomfortable and feel they are getting money they don’t deserve, but there is a reason for handling it this way. The at fault driver pays a monthly premium for just this situation. You pay monthly premiums to your health insurance for coverage. If either one wasn’t forced to pay what they are obligated to, even though it has already been paid by one of them, the other would be "getting off the hook" even though they were paid to provide that coverage. So, in order to make it fair, they both have to pay. Lawmakers have decided that it is only fair and the victim reaps the benefit.
Another reason to file is simply the length of time it can take to settle a claim. Auto insurance companies usually understand that payment won’t come until the claim is settled, and will work with you on repayment. It’s part of their job. Without using your health insurance, your medical bills could pile up for months or years, ruining your credit and causing you tremendous stress. Why go through all that when it can be easily avoided?
Keep in mind that many health plans are not true health insurance. If you have one of these plans, or if you are not sure whether you have true health insurance, consult a lawyer about what effect payments by your plan will have on your injury recovery.
Remember, you have a right to get well. Use all the tools available to you to make sure that happens as quickly and effectively as possible.
This article is part of the series by my colleagues. Check out these great articles!
I was in an automobile accident. What should I do? Ten Tips For Hawaii Drivers, Wayne Parsons on September 14, 2009 – 3:59 AM EST.
What would a caveman bring to meet with the lawyer?, Steve Lombardi , September 15, 2009 11:00 AM
Solving Legal Problems, Being a Client, Back to the Basics, Steve Lombardi, September 15, 2009 8:48 AM
Car Accident Injury Client: What Makes the Case Good or Bad? (The Collision & Medical Care) , Rick Shapiro September 16, 2009 9:38 AM
Being a Client: More Tips To Help Improve Your Case If You’ve Been In An Car Accident , Devon Glass , September 17, 2009 8:39 AM
Presumed Guilty: How to Avoid Having Insult Added to Injury When You’ve Been Hurt in a Car Crash, Pierce Egerton , September 18, 2009 4:28 PM
What To Do After An Accident When The Adjuster Is There First, Mike Bryant | September 19, 2009 6:26 PM
What Questions Is The Lawyer Going To Ask Me At The Initial Interview For My Injury Or Death Case?, Wayne Parsons | 20 September 2009 12:01
What To Do After An Accident When The Adjuster Has A Tape Recorder,Mike Bryant , September 23, 2009 10:01 PM
What are interrogatories and how do I answer them?, Steve Lombardi, September 29, 2009
and this one