Medical payments coverage, as you may know, is a type of insurance coverage. Insurance policies, as you probably know, can be complicated. They have a lot of moving parts -- some of which can appear to conflict with one another -- and they often feature what I like to call “SAT” words that don’t get used in everyday conversation. Compounding the issue is the fact that one policy will always include multiple different types of coverage. You have the items that are required by North Carolina law, like liability, uninsured and under-insured motorist coverage. Then you also have a set of optional types of coverage that aren’t required by law; think things like collision and comprehensive coverage options.
So are there any other types of coverage? Like, say, medical payments coverage, perhaps?
One of the lesser-known types of optional coverage is called medical payments coverage, or what we often call “Medpay.” Medpay is considered no-fault coverage; where available, it can reimburse an injured policyholder, his or her family, or anyone injured in the covered vehicle for “reasonable and necessary” medical expenses incurred as the result of a car accident. Keep in mind that this post is very much a “broad strokes” picture of Medpay; it can get pretty complicated, and if you’ve been injured in a car accident, you should absolutely seek the advice of an experienced local personal injury attorney.
What do I need to do to collect Medpay?
Three things must be true before you can collect Medpay. First, you need access to a policy that carries Medpay coverage, either through your own auto policy, a family member’s policy, or the vehicle owner’s policy. If you have access to multiple policies, you may be able to collect from one or more of them. Second, you need to have been injured in a car accident. Third, you need to have incurred medical expenses in connection with your injuries. If all three of these items apply to you, then you should be able to collect medical payments coverage for your “reasonable and necessary” medical expenses.
So what's so great about Medpay?
That’s what Medpay is, what it does, and how you can take advantage of it. So what makes it so fantastic? Well, there are a couple of major factors. First and foremost, the fact that you have a pending claim won’t typically prevent medical providers from sending your account to collections if you have unpaid bills (which many injured parties do). Medpay allows you to get those bills paid sooner so that you won’t have to fire-bomb your credit rating or deal with harassment from debt collection companies.
Second, Medpay can help maximize the amount of money that you get to keep when (and if) you reach a settlement. Medical providers who are owed money for services rendered after a car accident get to claim a statutory lien (or right to payment) on any settlement proceeds, up to a set percentage of the settlement amount. By using Medpay, you can sometimes pay these providers earlier and remove them from the “pool” of potential lienholders, meaning that they won’t be able to get at your settlement money later. Even better, Medpay money isn’t considered to be proceeds of a settlement, so it doesn’t count toward the amount that providers might be entitled to.
Again, this article only covers the main points. For more information, check out the DMV's website here. If you’ve been injured, I highly recommend that you seek the advice of an experienced local personal injury attorney. But knowledge is power, and if you’re hurt and the bills are piling up, it should be nice to know that you have options for paying them. Good luck!