We have been gradually teasing out the various elements of sucessfully pursuing a Maryland car or truck accident injury claim in a multi-part series of blogs. The first two chapters: Property Damage https://www.maryland-law.com/blog/maryland-car-and-truck-accident-claims-require-patience.cfm and Lost wages: https://www.maryland-law.com/blog/maryland-car-and-truck-accidents-part-two-lost-wages.cfm are in the books and today we tackle medical bills.
There are several avenues for medical bills and some are more beneficial than others. They are health insurance, PIP or Medpay from one's auto policy or promising to pay the healthcare provider out of settlement.
The first and most obvious avenue is using one's health insurance. This is enormously advantageous because for the most part there is no limit to coverage and while some health insurers do seek to get repaid out of your settlement or verdict, the amount they seek is substantially less than the actual amounts billed.
So for example, if you need an MRI it may be billed at a thousand dollars or more but health insurers have agreements with healthcare providers that pay vastly less, say $300.00. So later,when the health insurer seeks reimbursement ( subrogation) they are seeking at most $300.00 and often less.
The at-fault driver's insurer pays the full $1,000.00 bill, the health insurer gets at most the $300.00 they paid and the injured victim gets $700.00 or more.
In contrast PIP or Medpay is often not available under present day Maryland auto insurance policies or is limited in amount and pays $1,000.00 to the MRI biller. This is unfortunate because PIP can also be used for lost income and $1,000.00 spent on an MRI is $1,000.00 less dollars available for lost time from work.
Again as an example, most PIP coverage is $2500.00 and an amount like that can be gobbled up by healthcare providers in just one emergency room visit when it could otherwise cover several weeks of lost income. So even if you have PIP use your health insurance first so the PIP can be used for lost income.
Finally, many people do not have either health insurance or PIP and they are obliged to seek forbearance from the doctor's bill collectors until the time of settlement. As you can imagine, the healthcare providers who wait until settlement are much more likely to want full payment and frankly you don't have much leverage with them once you have signed a document guaranteeing payment.
So, health insurer first PIP or Medpay second and out of settlement last.