Cost of Chiropractic Care After a Kansas City Car Accident
It’s relatively common to suffer a neck or back injury that requires chiropractic care after a car accident, and of course, as with any medical treatment, the bills can be expensive and accumulate quickly. However, there are many ways to pay your medical bills after an injury car accident – never avoid treatment for fear of the cost! Contact an experienced Kansas City personal injury attorney to help navigate the claims process and ensure your medical bills are covered.
Don’t Wait to Seek Medical Treatment After an Accident
It’s extremely important to seek medical treatment immediately after a car crash – even if you feel fine or assume your injuries aren’t severe. Waiting for weeks or months after a car accident to receive care because you’re worried about what it will cost only provides the insurance company another reason to deny coverage because they’ll claim the car wreck did not cause your injuries. The first question they’ll ask is why you didn’t seek treatment sooner if, in fact, you needed it following a car crash. Delaying treatment makes it much harder to disprove that argument. Save yourself the headache and get yourself evaluated by a medical professional, whether a chiropractor, an ER physician, or even an EMT as soon as possible following a crash.
How to Pay for Chiropractic Care After a Car Accident in Missouri and Kansas
The insurance company for the at-fault driver does not pay any health care bills, including chiropractor bills … but they will pay them as part of the settlement at the end of your course of treatment. So what does that mean? How will you pay your medical bills in the meantime?
1. Health Insurance Coverage
If you have health insurance coverage, your insurance provider might cover the cost of chiropractic care. It depends on the terms of your health insurance policy. However, you are responsible for any co-pays or other costs not covered by health insurance.
Everyone Wants a Piece of Your Settlement – But Not Everyone Has a Right to Participate in Your Settlement Distribution
When you’re injured in a car accident and start treatment, whether it’s a single trip to the ER or ongoing medical care, including chiropractic treatments, your health insurance company will often cover the ongoing medical expenses. However, sometimes, the health care provider will choose instead to perfect a medical lien to get reimbursed for these expenses once your injury car accident claim settles. Meaning, the provider will be paid from a portion of settlement proceeds. Sometimes your private health insurance company, after picking up the charges, will try to be reimbursed for any money it paid related to care for car accident injuries from your settlement proceeds. The health insurance company’s lien on your settlement proceeds is referred to as a subrogation claim. Usually, a private health insurance carrier has no legal right to lien your settlement proceeds. This usually only happens when the health insurance carrier is a so-called fully funded ERISA qualified plan. Personal injury attorneys have a responsibility to know the difference between subrogation liens, perfected health care provider liens, ERISA equitable liens, Medicare liens, and others. This is one more reason to work with an experienced Kansas City Personal injury attorney instead of trying to settle a claim on your own.
A medical lien may sound scary, but it can be very helpful to protect your credit score and otherwise keep your out-of-pocket costs to a minimum while you’re undergoing treatment for your injuries. In addition, you won’t be sent to collections while you’re seeing doctors and waiting for your settlement.
Your Kansas City car accident lawyer may be able to negotiate a lower payoff amount for your health care bills, especially if your settlement proceeds did not cover the full value of your injury claim. Medical care providers are usually responsive to an experienced Kansas City personal injury attorney when they call and notify them that they are holding settlement proceeds and have been asked by the client to negotiate a balance in compromise.
2. No-Fault Insurance
If your car crash occurred in a no-fault state (like Kansas or Massachusetts) the Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage on your car insurance policy will pay all or a portion of your chiropractic bills. In Kansas, no-fault insurance is called “personal injury protection coverage” or PIP. Unlike Missouri, Kansas requires that all drivers carry at least $4,500 in PIP coverage. Drivers can purchase higher amounts of PIP insurance, so you could have a higher amount of PIP to cover chiropractic care after a car accident. This is important because PIP coverage works on a first-come, first-serve basis. Once the PIP limit is reached, additional medical expenses will need to be covered by another source. An advantage of no-fault insurance coverage is that it pays for your medical bills regardless of who is at fault for the accident. Therefore, you do not need to wait until your car accident case is settled to receive money for a no-fault insurance claim. Because PIP coverage is mandatory, the application of PIP coverage to your medical bills gives your auto insurance carrier a subrogation right against any settlement proceeds but is usually reduced by a pre-determined statutory amount as an incentive to use it.
Missouri is not a no-fault jurisdiction. Missouri car insurance has optional MEDPAY or medical payments coverage. It is optional coverage that requires an additional premium expense. Because MEDPAY coverage is optional, it does not carry with it a right to subrogate. MEDPAY benefits amount to free money that can be used to pay down your care expenses as you treat your injuries, or at the end of your care as part of a settlement. If you don’t have MEDPAY coverage or aren’t sure what your policy covers, please check with your insurance agent. It’s a good idea to carry MEDPAY coverage in Missouri.
3. Medical Liens
Many chiropractors accept car accident patients on a medical lien or contractual basis. Usually, this means that the chiropractor will wait to get paid back the total of your chiropractic costs from your car accident settlement. However, if you do not receive money for a settlement or the settlement does not cover the full cost of the chiropractor, you may still be responsible for the remaining balance owed.
4. Medicaid Benefits
Medicaid and Medicare are government entities that provide health insurance benefits for qualified individuals. Qualifications vary, but in general, Medicaid is for lower-income individuals or people with various disabilities who meet specific criteria. Some car accident victims who are unable to work after a crash may meet the income requirements for Medicaid eligibility. In Kansas, KanCare is the Medicaid program administered by the state. MO HealthNet is Missouri’s Medicaid program. Medicaid providers have a subrogation right as a matter of law that must be protected prior to the disbursement of settlement proceeds.
It’s important to note that for Kansas car accidents, the injured party’s PIP coverage must be exhausted before Medicaid or Medicare will pay any medical bills related to the accident. An experienced personal injury attorney will know to track the expenses covered by PIP and to provide Medicare or Medicaid with a PIP exhaust letter when the carrier’s limits have been reached.
5. Workers Compensation Insurance
If you were acting in the course and scope of employment when a car accident occurred, you are eligible to file a worker’s compensation claim. When you’re hurt on the job, the workers’ comp insurance is actually the primary payor. Meaning, it would be the first insurance policy used to cover the medical bills related to your injury. On-the-job car accidents are common and are worth discussing with an attorney – not just your employer.
It’s Important to Complete Medical Care Before Settling Your Claim
You should always complete a full course of treatment – whether it’s chiropractic care or something else. You should take the time to heal properly. Completing your full course of treatment will only help you and your claim. After all, once you settle with an insurance company, they’re not responsible for reimbursing you for medical bills you accrue after the case is settled. This is the reason that the at-fault insurance carrier frequently makes offers to settle as early as possible following a collision.
It’s also important to note that if your car accident resulted in permanent impairment or disability that requires ongoing medical treatment, a Kansas City car accident lawyer will include future damages in the value of your initial injury claim.
Should I Call a Kansas City Car Accident Lawyer for Help With My Car Accident Claim?
It’s always best to contact a car accident attorney in Kansas City after any traffic accident. Learning about your legal rights and your options for seeking compensation for damages can help increase your chance of recovering maximum compensation for your car accident claim.
An insurance adjuster is not going to tell you whether the amount offered for your claim is fair. It is the adjuster’s job to pay as little as possible to settle your injury claim. You need a trusted legal advocate who has your best interest as the top priority to review the settlement to ensure you are receiving a fair and just amount of money for your claim.
Do not be bullied into accepting a quick settlement offer. Also, do not let a claims adjuster convince you that talking to an attorney is not wise. We offer a free consultation for car accident claims.
Get a Free Case Review With a Kansas City Car Accident Attorney
Donovan Dodrill, owner and principal of Plaza Injury Law, is passionate about fighting for the rights of accident victims. Whether your accident occurred in Missouri or Kansas, call Donovan directly at 816-945-4409 for a free consultation.