What is Medical Payments Coverage? And, Why do I Have it on My Automobile Policy?
In my personal injury practice in Mesa, Arizona, I often run across many different types of automobile insurance policies – most of which my clients simply do not understand. Liability and Uninsured or Underinsured coverage is hard enough to understand but there is one type of coverage that most of my injured clients have on their policy and yet, at least 90% of them have no idea what it is: Medical Payments coverage.
Medical Payments coverage, or Med Pay for short, is a very inexpensive addition to most automobile insurance policies but it is rarely used. In short, Med Pay is a sort of no-fault insurance, like Health Insurance, that will pay medical bills up to a policy limit, so long as those bills are relevant to your injury and are reasonable and necessary expenses.
Medical Payments coverage kicks in when you are injured – there is no waiting period. It can help fill the gaps that your health insurance might leave behind such as co-pays and deductibles. It may also pay medical providers that your health insurance excludes from coverage such as dentists, chiropractor and even funeral expenses.
And, this coverage usually applies to everyone who happened to be in the car at the time of your injuries, whether or not they are related to you and regardless of whether they are named on the automobile insurance policy. This is true even if the accident was your fault. Finally, it will pay if the accident was not your fault AND the at fault driver has liability insurance or if you are injured by a automobile just walking down the street – it is personal coverage like UIM and follows you wherever you go.
I normally see Medical Payments coverage with limits of $1,000.00, $5,000.00 and $10,000.00.
The best part is, this coverage is VERY INEXPENSIVE to buy – usually between $10.00 and $100.00 per year! So, as is normal, my advice is to buy a little more than you want to pay for, or that you think you can afford. Just remember that this is true medical payments coverage. You are not subjected to co-pays or deductibles. The only limitation is the amount of coverage that you buy.
One of the things we have yet to talk about in this series is something called “subrogation.”
This is the contractual right of your health insurance provider to receive money out of YOUR settlement. (More on this later) Suffice it to say for now that YES, even though you pay premiums every month to your health insurance company, if you get hurt and receive money from a third party for those injuries, you may have to pay your health insurance company back. I think this is a terrible rip off but it is what it is and in most situations, it is legal.
Medical Payments Coverage can be very beneficial for my clients because, in some situations, it can be used to pay back our client’s subrogation obligation back to their health insurance company or it reduces that obligation by paying bills so that the health insurance company does not have to pay those bills. In most situations, not all but in the vast majority ot cicumstances, you do not have to pay back your medical payments coverage.
In any event, check out your automobile insurance policy to see if you have Medical Payments coverage. If you do not, consider buying some and remember, when deciding how much insurance to buy – figure out what you can afford, and buy a little more.
No one will protect you – YOU have to PROTECT YOURSELF!
Daniel Marco – Marco Injury Law
1166 E Warner Rd #101
Gilbert, AZ 85296
Email: [email protected]