How to Pay Medical Bills After a Car Accident With No Health Insurance
After a car accident, the medical bills will pile up. Even if you have health insurance, the co-pays and deductibles can be significant. If you don’t have health insurance, it will be much worse. So what can you do?
First, it’s important to dispel a common misconception. The at-fault driver’s insurance company does not have to pay medical bills piecemeal. You can’t just send a medical bill for payment to the car insurance company every time you get one in the mail and expect them to pay it.
That approach would make common sense, but it’s now how it works. Any payment by the other driver’s insurance company is a one-time lump sum offer. This lump sum offer covers all damages, including pain, suffering, lost wages, and medical bills.
Let’s go through each type of medical care provider and breakdown how to take care of their medical bills for treatment received after a car accident if you don’t have health insurance.
If you went to the hospital after the wreck, it’s important to notify the hospital billing office that your treatment was due to a car accident. In Alabama, the hospital can file a hospital lien on your personal injury claim. If you don’t tell the billing office you were in an accident, then the bill will go to collections if you can’t afford to pay it.
Another option is to check your own car insurance policy. If you have “medical payments” coverage, this can be used to cover the hospital bill and other bills. Medical payments coverage comes in amounts all the way from $1,000 to $100,000.
Ambulance services in Alabama can cost anywhere from $600 to $1,700. Air ambulances can be in excess of $40,000. If you do not have medical payments coverage and you do not have health insurance, your personal injury lawyer may be able to come to an agreement with the ambulance company about a payment plan.
In car accidents with severe injuries, specialists will be involved. For example, this can include orthopedic doctors, neurosurgeons, and neurologists. Many specialists in Alabama have “write-offs” for those who qualify financially.
Another option your lawyer can pursue is a “protect pay” letter. A protect pay letter is a document in which the lawyer assures the specialist that he or she will be paid at the time of settlement.
Most chiropractors will provide treatment to car accident victims without payment up front if you are represented by a respected lawyer. Chiropractors are paid at the time of settlement from the settlement funds by your lawyer.
Chiropractic treatment is a good option if two conditions are met. First, it’s important that the emergency room doctors found no acute injury such as a herniated disc or a torn ligament. Second, chiropractic treatment is a great option if your symptoms are limited to stiffness or tenderness in the neck or back.
Physical therapists prefer health insurance payments. However, just like specialists, some physical therapy provides will accept a “protect pay” letter from your lawyer. If they accept such a letter, the physical therapist will be paid at the time of settlement from the personal injury settlement funds.
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We have represented many people who did not have health insurance. We were able to make sure they received the necessary medical treatment after a car accident. If you need a lawyer to help you in this situation, please contact us.