Auto medical payments (AMP) insurance, also known as MedPay, covers medical expenses when a car accident results in injuries to you, other drivers listed on your policy, members of your household and your passengers.
MedPay is an affordable extension to your car insurance that pays bills quickly and complements other types of coverage that can leave you responsible for part of your medical expenses.
How Does MedPay Coverage Work?
Buying coverage for medical payments 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.
By adding MedPay coverage to your car insurance policy, you can cover the holes in these other types of insurance to make sure medical bills get paid quickly.
Here are some important things to know about MedPay insurance:
- The cost can be very low, often less than $5 a month.
- There are no deductibles or copays.
- Provides broader coverage than most health insurance, including coverage for things like dental care, chiropractic care and ambulance fees.
- Covers funeral expenses.
- MedPay protects the policyholder and family members in case of vehicle-related accident while riding public transit, walking, or cycling.
- Covers other drivers of the insured vehicle.
- Protects passengers of the insured vehicle regardless of fault.
Filing a Claim Under a MedPay Policy
If you are injured in a car accident, seek medical treatment immediately. Then keep the following in mind as you make a claim under your MedPay coverage.
- Notify your car insurance carrier of your injuries as soon as possible to get the claims process started.
- When you seek medical treatment, give the health care provider information about your MedPay policy, the other driver's car insurance policy and any health insurance coverage you have.
- Many hospitals and doctors will bill auto insurance policies directly. Others, however, will demand payment from you and leave you the responsibility of getting reimbursed by insurers. For non-emergency care, ask about the provider's billing policies before you get treatment.
- In some cases, the health insurance and car insurance companies will work together to coordinate payment.
- No matter what insurance coverage you have, you are the health care provider's customer, so you are ultimately responsible for paying the bills.
- If you choose to be represented by a personal injury lawyer, your attorney will assist you in dealing with insurers and health care providers.
The Bottom Line: Should You Buy Medical Payments Insurance?
For most people, the answer is simple: Include MedPay coverage in your insurance policy.
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 do have a health insurance plan, MedPay can be beneficial. In 2012 the average injury claim for auto accidents was approximately $15,000, according to the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association. After copays and deductibles, a health insurance plan might cover approximately $11,500, leaving about $3,500 in unpaid bills. A MedPay policy will cover these costs.
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. If medical bills exceed the limits of your PIP insurance, MedPay can cover the remaining amount.
The chart below illustrates the similarities and differences between these two types of insurance.
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