Health Insurance Reimbursement Following a Car Accident Injury Settlement
UPDATED: June 19, 2018
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How will you pay for medical expenses if you are injured in a car accident? If you are in this situation, you already know that it can take weeks or months to resolve who was at fault and who pays for what following a car accident. During that time, you may be stuck trying to figure out how to pay for the medical care and treatment you need to heal. If you can't wait for payments from an insurance settlement to pay for required medical care, your health insurance company will generally pay for the care you need as a result of your injury.
Reimbursement - How It Works
If you paid for your own medical care out-of-pocket, then you would be reimbursed at a later date when the settlement is finalized because medical bills are generally part of damages awarded in car accident settlements or when a car accident case goes to court. When someone else pays, it is only fair that they too are paid back for what they spent. In most cases, your health insurance company will be reimbursed from a car accident settlement. The rationale behind this is that since the health insurer paid for your medical treatment, it is entitled to get the money back from the settlement (just as you are entitled to reimbursement for your expenses, like lost wages).
Reimbursement and Attorney's Fees
It is important to note, however, that depending on the laws in your state and the terms of your agreement, the health insurance company may get a reduced reimbursement due to attorney's fees. For example, if your lawyer charged 33% of the settlement, and the health insurance company is entitled to $1,000 in reimbursements, it may receive $666 instead. The rationale in those cases is that the health insurance company must pay its fair share of the attorney's contingency fee.
Where to Find Answers
The details regarding contingency fees, your insurance company's coverage policies, and anything else you may need to know about such rules or regulations should be contained within your insurance contract. Speaking to an agent will also be essential so that you know exactly how things stand and when payment will be made. You should also remember that even if your insurance company is liable for your medical treatment, if they are waiting on a settlement and don't pay, the medical facility can end up billing you instead. This can cause complications on your credit, so it is best to know what to expect before the process begins, if possible. Read your insurance paperwork carefully and call them with any questions or concerns.
You may also wish to contact an attorney to find out exactly how the car accident settlement process and health insurance reimbursement will work based on your situation. Some states have specific laws related to health insurance companies and car accident settlements, your attorney will be able to provide you with information specific to your case.