Can You Use Health Insurance for Treatment After a Car Accident?

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Can You Use Health Insurance for Treatment After a Car Accident?
Written By: Josh Lowell ~ 10/17/2022


Yes! But, there may be better options first. Whether through your employer, the state, or the federal government, most everyone will have access to health insurance to pay medical expenses associated with car accident treatment. That financial support may be crucial to ensure you are able to secure necessary medical appointments to help relieve you of pain and suffering. What insurance should be used to pay for these medical bills? How do I go about using my insurance? These are all questions your attorney can answer specifically about your case, but here are a few common issues to understand.

PIP – Auto Insurance

Before using any other type of insurance your auto insurance carrier should offer to pay medical bills using Personal Injury Protection insurance. In Washington, PIP is mandatory in all auto policies unless explicitly waived when the policy is purchased. What this means is that most insurance policies have available a minimum of $10,000 of deductible and co-pay free medical care after being injured in an accident. You must fill out a PIP application and there are certain restrictions. This can be an inexpensive way to receive necessary care to help improve your symptoms after a crash.

Medicare, Medicaid, Private and State Health Insurance

Both Medicare and Medicaid are managed by the federal government. Private health insurance is often purchased through your employer. Washington state also offers public health insurance policies. Either way, getting started with treatment is easy. If there is no PIP available, you should be able to continue treating with your normal providers who can bill your regular policy directly.

L&I – Employer Insurance

If you are injured on the job, the Department of Labor and Industries may provide medical expense payments on your behalf. You’ll need to specifically apply with the help of your employer to access L&I. The department will help manage your claim, pay your bills, and reimburse you for costs. They keep a substantial level of control over your treatment, and they are keen to cut off expenses.

Subrogation – Paying Back your Insurer

If you are successful in making a personal injury claim, you will be compensated for your past paid medical bills, future medical expenses, wage loss, and your non-economic pain and suffering. If an insurer outlined above paid any money on your behalf towards your medical bills and you were compensated for those medical bills from the liability insurer, it’s likely you will owe a repayment obligation to your health insurer. Fortunately, you will only owe what they paid out on your behalf. Meaning that if Medicare pays thirty cents on the dollar, you only owe a small portion of what was actually charged. Moreover, PIP policies require a discount under Washington law if you hire an attorney to help reach that award. So, while you are required to repay these policies, there are laws and rules available to reduce those obligations and keep more money in your pocket.

If you’ve been involved in a motor vehicle accident and have suffered injuries, understanding your rights and obligations regarding insurance is key. The experienced team at the law offices of Magnuson Lowell PS are ready and available to answer your questions and seek justice from the at fault insurance companies. Call today for a free case evaluation.

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