What is Med Pay?

February 19, 2019

 

I realized the other day it was time to shop around again for car insurance. It’s already been almost a year, and the policy I have will be up in April. I’m sure I can find a better deal—at least I hope I can.

 

I started researching different plans.   I’ve got a bit of a tight budget, so I’ll admit I’m looking at the lower priced plans—just the basics.

 

Last April when I shopped around, I didn’t do as much research prior as I, admittedly, should have.  I had just purchased a new car and had to get my insurance set up before I could get my plates. I did a quick internet search the night before when I got home from work.  In my rush to get coverage I opted out of any and all optional items, including Med Pay.

 

I thought nothing of it at the time.  I had no clue what it was, so it was easy to opt out of it.  So this time, as I was researching new possible insurance plans, I was left with a few questions.

 

What is Med Pay?

 

Basically, it’s money to pay your medical bills if you’re in a car accident.  It will go toward the immediate trauma care that comes up after a car accident, like your ambulance and emergency room.  It can also cover ongoing medical care, such as chiropractic, pain management, and other doctors your health insurance may not cover.

 

What is the best thing about Med Pay?

 

It does NOT have to be paid back out of your personal injury settlement!  

 

Unlike any medical bills paid by your health insurance, which DO have to be paid back out of your settlement money, your Med Pay coverage is in addition to your personal injury money from the at-fault driver.  It basically increases the money actually going into your pocket dollar for dollar what your Med Pay insurance covers.   

 

Who is covered by Med Pay?

 

This covers the holder of the policy and any passengers in the vehicle when the accident occurs.  It will also cover a family member who is driving your vehicle with your permission at the time of an accident.  In fact, Med Pay is no-fault coverage, so in the unfortunate situation in which you may be the at-fault driver but are injured, your Med Pay coverage still kicks in.   

 

Is it mandatory?

 

Insurance companies have to offer it according to Colorado law, but we the consumers can opt out by signing a waiver.  Since I didn’t understand what it was, what’s exactly what I did—and what insurance companies hope you will do.

 

How does Med Pay work?

 

If you purchase Med Pay coverage, it will be the primary coverage for injuries and care related to the accident.  Your doctors can submit their bills to your car insurance, and your car insurance will then pay your doctors directly.  Or, if you have an attorney representing you, he or she can submit your medical bills for payment by your car insurance if your doctors don’t bill your Med Pay policy.   

 

I have Health Insurance, so I don’t need Med Pay, right?

 

Not true!!  Some health insurance plans do not cover injuries from car accidents, and even if yours does, you will have to pay your health insurance BACK, out of your settlement, for any medical bills it paid that are related to the crash.   Med Pay coverage could be used to reimburse your health insurance rather than that reimbursement coming out of your settlement. Med Pay can also cover deductibles or patient-share or medical treatment not covered by health insurance.  

 

How much coverage should I get?

 

The minimum required in Colorado is $5,000.00, but of course, you can always purchase more!  You’d be surprised how fast medical bills can pile up, with ambulances running around $1,000 per trip and an ER bill being $10,000 before you can blink.   

 

Med Pay coverage is some of the most affordable insurance offered… sometimes a couple of dollars a month, so if you can afford more than $5,000, it’s really worth it.    

 

What I’ve learned is that in simply trying to find the cheapest insurance, I’m not always getting the coverage I really need.   In the end, I decided I would spare a Starbucks each month for the peace of mind that I would not have to pay out of pocket for my medical bills if I get hurt in a car wreck.   When you shop for insurance next, do the same—take the Med Pay!

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