Medical payments coverage is a type of car insurance that pays for medical expenses when a car accident results in injuries to the policyholder, their passengers, or other drivers listed on the policy. This coverage can be used after any accident, regardless of fault, and it is often referred to as “MedPay.”
Key Things to Know About Medical Payments Coverage
- MedPay often costs less than $10 per month.
- Coverage applies after any car accident, regardless of fault, including when the policyholder is hit by a vehicle while walking, cycling or riding public transit.
- MedPay does not require the policyholder to pay any deductibles or copays.
- MedPay insurance is similar to personal injury protection but does not offer as much coverage.
- You should consider purchasing MedPay even if you already have health insurance or personal injury protection.
How Medical Payments Coverage Works
Medical payments coverage works by filling coverage gaps between auto and health insurance in order to make sure that medical bills get paid quickly. Buying MedPay coverage may seem redundant for someone who carries health insurance. But look carefully at your health insurance plan. You probably need to make copayments when you seek medical treatment. Furthermore, many health plans today have high deductibles that can leave you responsible for thousands of dollars in health care costs before your health insurance coverage kicks in.
If the other driver is at fault, you may have coverage from that driver’s liability policy (or your own coverage for uninsured drivers). But bodily injury liability coverage has limitations of its own. It may take several months to determine who is at fault, especially if there is litigation. In the meantime, liability insurance is not paying claims, medical care providers are not getting paid, and bills may stack up.
What MedPay Covers
- Medical bills normally covered by health insurance, including ambulance fees, dental care, and chiropractic care
- Professional nursing services
- Funeral expenses
- Deductibles, copays, and coinsurance for other types of insurance, including health insurance and personal injury protection
Cost of MedPay
Medical payments coverage often costs less than $10 per month, making it an extremely affordable insurance option. The exact cost of medical payments insurance depends on a few factors, including your driving history, the type of car that you drive, and the amount of coverage that you purchase. The higher your coverage limits, the higher your premium will be.
Medical Payments Coverage vs. PIP Coverage
In some states, you may be required or have the option to buy personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. Like MedPay, PIP will cover health care costs for you, your family and your passengers. Unlike MedPay, PIP insurance can cover more than just medical expenses. It may also compensate you for things like lost income and child care expenses. Keep in mind that PIP often has a deductible and may require the consumer to pay a percentage of medical bills.
MedPay and PIP insurance can complement each other. You can use MedPay to pay the deductibles and coinsurance that consumers are responsible for under PIP. And if medical bills exceed the limits of your PIP insurance, MedPay can cover the remaining amount.
How to File a MedPay Claim
To file a MedPay claim, you should notify your car insurance company of the accident and give your health care provider the details of your policy. You need to document all of the expenses related to your care, and you should consider hiring a personal injury lawyer to help you with the process of filing the claim if your injuries are particularly severe.
Depending on the hospital, your auto insurance company may be billed directly. If not, you and your health insurance company will be reimbursed. It’s common for auto and health insurance companies to work together to coordinate payment, so you won’t have to be heavily involved in the claim settlement process.
Do You Need Medical Payments Coverage?
Maine and New Hampshire are the only states that require drivers to carry medical payments coverage, although New Hampshire’s rule only applies to drivers who choose to purchase car insurance. But even though MedPay is usually optional, it is almost always a good investment.
If you don’t have health insurance coverage for yourself or your family, MedPay is an affordable way to make sure medical bills will get paid after a car accident. Plus, MedPay coverage extends to passengers who are not part of your household – and who may or may not have health insurance themselves.
Even if you already have a health insurance or PIP policy in place, MedPay can still come in handy. In 2019, the average bodily injury claim after an accident was $18,417, according to the Insurance Information Institute. After copays and deductibles, a health insurance plan still might not cover all of your expenses. MedPay can fill in any health insurance coverage gaps and reimburse you for anything you pay out of pocket. And if you’re concerned that your PIP limits aren’t high enough, it’s a good idea to purchase MedPay as complementary coverage for extra protection.