Using MedPay and PIP to Pay for Injuries from a Car Accident
How To Use MedPay and PIP to Pay for Car Accident Injuries in Kansas and Missouri
Car accidents are the most common type of personal injury accidents our Kansas City law firm handles. It is not uncommon for people injured in car, truck, or motorcycle accidents to incur thousands of dollars in medical treatment, even with relatively minor injuries.
If you were injured in a car accident, you should check to see if your own car insurance policy has what is known as MEDPAY (Medical Payments) benefits or PIP (Personal Injury Protection) coverage. Importantly, MEDPAY is optional in Missouri, and PIP is required by all Kansas policies. PIP coverage is found in “no-fault” jurisdictions because it provides benefits to the injured party regardless of who caused the accident.
If you have either of these coverages, it can be used to reimburse you for your medical bills. It is important to recognize that this coverage is in addition to your health insurance coverage, and primary to it. Together, these coverages can help minimize the amount you pay out-of-pocket for medical treatment of injuries after a car accident.
What Is Medical Payments Coverage & Personal Injury Protection?
Missouri Medical payments coverage, also known as MEDPAY, is used to cover the costs of medical payments that result from an injury accident – for example, chiropractor bills after a car accident.
Unlike liability or uninsured motorist coverage, Missouri drivers are not legally required to carry MEDPAY coverage. However, MEDPAY coverage is often included with many Missouri car insurance policies. Check your policy to see if it has a MEDPAY provision or ask your agent if you have this coverage.
Kansas Personal Injury Protection Coverage, also called “PIP,” can cover both healthcare costs AND any loss in wages after an injury accident, regardless of fault.
- PIP-covered medical expenses include: Ambulance/paramedic, doctors and surgeons, hospitalization, nursing care, medication, drugs and medical supplies, psychiatric care, imaging, laboratory tests, rehabilitation, prostheses, dental care, optical treatment and chiropractic services.
- Funeral expenses: Ceremonies, burial expenses and cremation.
- Lost wages: Some or all of wages lost because of injury. PIP may also cover the cost of temporary employees for self-employed insureds.
- Childcare and household expenses: PIP can pay for service providers when injuries make it impossible to care for children or maintain the home under certain circumstances.
- Survivors’ Loss: PIP can cover income for surviving dependents.
Unlike Missouri, Kansas drivers are legally required to carry PIP coverage as part of their car insurance policy. Kansas drivers must have at least $4,500 per individual in PIP coverage. This minimum will cover the medical expenses of an individual injured in an accident up to $4,500. Importantly, out of state auto policies that cover out-of-state drivers who drive their vehicle into the state of Kansas, are amended by operation of law to include PIP coverage. Interestingly, Kansas insureds who are in car accidents in Missouri have PIP benefits under their policies but their insurance companies lose their right to subrogation because the collision occurred in Missouri.
In summary: both MEDPAY and PIP cover medical bills after an auto accident, but MEDPAY is optional and not subrogatable, and PIP is only subrogatable if the collision occurs in Kansas.
How Does Medical Payment Insurance Differ From Bodily Injury Liability Insurance?
Bodily injury liability insurance protection covers the driver(s) and passengers of other vehicles involved in a car accident, as well as any other pedestrians or bystanders injured in the accident when you are responsible. Your bodily injury protection limits protect your personal liability.
MEDPAY and PIP insurance coverage, on the other hand, covers you, your family members and passengers of your vehicle at the time of the accident regardless of who is at fault. It also protects you if you’re hit by a vehicle while walking or riding your bike under certain circumstances.
When to Use Medical Payment Insurance
MEDPAY and PIP can both be used in situations that involve a car accident. For example:
- If you are driving and passengers are injured: regardless of who is at fault for the car accident, everyone in your vehicle is covered.
- If you’re struck by a car while out walking, running, or riding your bike: if you’re the victim of a car accident even when you’re not in a vehicle, you’re covered by medical payment insurance.
- If you’re a passenger in a car accident: no matter who is at fault, PIP and MedPay coverage can help.
- In fatal car crashes: a car accident that leads to a fatality is the worst-case scenario, but even then, medical payment coverage can help cover funeral expenses.
Benefits of MedPay and PIP Coverage After a Kansas City Car Accident
There are several benefits of having medical bills paid by PIP or MedPay coverage in a car accident case, including:
- Reduced out-of-pocket expenses
- Medical bills are paid promptly, and not after the case has settled (no medical liens)
- The full amount of the bill is often satisfied after the application of offsets and reductions as with any other policy of health insurance as long as the policy offers sufficient coverage
It’s important to remember that there are limits on the amount of MEDPAY or PIP coverage you purchase. This insurance coverage will not pay for anything above the limits. If your medical bills are substantial and the PIP or MEDPAY limits are low, you’ll need other sources of payment to cover your medical bills.
Will Using MEDPAY or PIP Coverage Increase My Insurance Premiums?
You also may wonder if your car insurance premiums will increase if you use your MEDPAY or PIP coverage. The short answer is no; Your insurance premiums should not change because you used the PIP or MEDPAY coverage you purchased.
Although it may seem strange to submit medical bills to your own insurance company when you are not at fault for the car accident, MEDPAY and PIP coverages exist for exactly that reason – with it, your medical bills will be covered no matter what.
How to Minimize Out-of-Pocket Medical Bills After a Car Accident
One of the best ways to minimize your out-of-pocket medical expenses for injuries from a car accident is to submit your bills for payment to MEDPAY or PIP before your health care insurance. MEDPAY and PIP benefits as well as health insurance plans will be entitled to discounts on the medical costs and will also pay substantial amounts of a total bill.
Other Ways to Pay Medical Bills After a Kansas City Car Accident
In general, you should look to one of the following means to seek payment of your medical bills:
- 1. Health insurance from your employment benefits package or a policy you may pay for directly.
- 2. Your spouse’s health insurance policy, or if you’re a minor, your parent’s insurance plan.
- 3. For car accidents, MEDPAY or PIP coverage from your own insurance policy.
- 4. Or, if you were a passenger in the car accident, MedPay or PIP coverage from the person you were riding with.
- 5. If you are not covered under an insurance plan, you may be eligible for Medicaid.
- In Kansas, KanCare is the program through which the State of Kansas administers Medicaid. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS) administer KanCare within the State of Kansas.
- Missouri’s Medicaid program is called MO HealthNet, and it is administered by the Family Support Division of the Missouri Department of Social Services. For more information about eligibility and to apply, you can go to their local Family Support Division Office or call 855-FSD-INFO (855-373-4636).
- 6. The last available source for payment of medical bills is your own personal funds. This is often necessary if you were not insured and when they are able to pay medical bills as they are incurred. However, those bills may be negotiable. An experienced car accident attorney may be able to reduce any claims or liens for payment from your health providers as part of the settlement.
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.
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