Medical payments coverage helps you get wide protection for car accident injuries, and it can act as an extension of your health insurance coverage by taking care of your copays or deductible. While not everyone needs this extra protection, MedPay can help if you have little to no health insurance coverage or you keep your health insurance deductible high.
Medical payments coverage pays for your and your passengers’ medical bills after a car accident, including your health insurance copays or deductible. Medpay also covers many costs that your health insurance may not cover, like prosthetics, ambulance fees or funeral expenses. If you live in Main or New Hampshire, you’re required to have medical payments coverage.
How much MedPay coverage do I need?
You can start by buying the required amount of MedPay coverage if your state requires it, typically $10,000 in protection. But if you’re adding it as an optional coverage, think through what you want MedPay to cover and choose a limit to match that need.
For example, if you want MedPay to cover your $5,000 health insurance deductible, you’d choose to buy at least $5,000 in medical payments coverage. This dollar amount is called your coverage limit, and it’s the maximum that your insurance will pay for medical bills caused by a car accident.
What’s covered by medical payments coverage?
Medical payments coverage, or med pay, helps you with your medical costs resulting from a car accident — no matter who’s at fault. It covers you and your passengers and can pay for expenses such as:
Medical payments coverage doesn’t only apply to auto accidents. It can also protect you outside of your vehicle, such as when you’re walking or riding your bike.
What’s not covered?
Scenarios that aren’t covered by med pay can vary between insurers and states, so check with your insurer about what Medpay will and won’t pay for in the state where you live. Here are some general expenses that may not be covered:
Child care costs
Treatment for other drivers in an at-fault accident
Health problems unrelated to an accident
How much is medical payments coverage?
The cost of medical payments insurance largely depends on the limit you choose. Med pay limits are typically $1,000, $2,000, $5,000, $10,000 and $25,000, which can result in a monthly cost of $2 to $37.
The lower your limit, the lower your monthly cost. Adding medical payments coverage to your insurance policy typically costs around $5 a month. In total, you’ll probably pay less than $100 a year.
Does MedPay come with a deductible?
Med pay doesn’t come with a deductible. In fact, you can use it to pay for your health insurance deductible or copays after an auto accident.
Med pay doesn’t have deductibles or copays. PIP does.
PIP covers more costs — like lost income and psychiatric services.
Both are mandatory in different states, but PIP is required in more states.
Medical payments coverage vs. health insurance
On the surface, medical payments and health insurance might seem like they cover the same thing. But if you look deeper, you’ll find that there are gaps in your health insurance policy that medical payments will fill in.
For example, a typical health insurance policy will cover a stay in the hospital, but it might not cover the ambulance ride to get there if the provider deems the ambulance wasn’t medically necessary. Other situations that med pay can cover that your health insurance usually doesn’t include are funeral costs and injuries sustained by a passenger in your car.
Medpay can also be used toward your health insurance deductible and copays. If you have a health insurance plan with a high deductible and high copay, medical payments coverage can save you money.
Case study: How to pay for medical bills after a car accident
While driving to work, Michelle is rear-ended by another driver who wasn’t paying attention when Michelle had to slam on her brakes because a car darted in front of her. Unfortunately, the accident was bad enough that Michelle is transported to the hospital by ambulance.
After Michelle recovers and is discharged from the hospital, the bills from her stay start coming in. She panics when she learns that her health insurance won’t cover the ambulance ride. Fortunately, she opted for medical payments insurance when obtaining car insurance.
Her Medpay will cover the ambulance fee, as well as her steep deductible of $2,500 and high copays. Because of Michelle’s medical payments insurance, she will have no out-of-pocket expenses.
Compare policies with medical payments coverage
Medical payments coverage can be a useful add-on to protect you from unexpected medical costs. As a bonus, it doesn’t cost too much more per month. To find the best price, compare car insurance before making any final decisions.
Common questions about medical payments insurance
The best way is to check with your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles. Most likely, your state will require all drivers to carry a minimum amount of liability coverage for bodily injury and property damage. The exceptions are New Hampshire and Virginia, which have different rules. Your state may also require you to buy personal injury protection or medical payments coverage.
Insurance companies want to make a profit. They want to make sure you’re paying them more than they’re potentially paying out on your behalf. To do that, they’ll assess how risky you are to insure.
Insurers use many factors to determine your insurance premium. These include your age, gender, driving history, the car you drive and more. For example, teenagers tend to get into more accidents than drivers age 25 or older, and some cars are safer to drive than others.
Roslyn McKenna is an insurance expert who's driven to help people get a great deal on insurance to protect their families and finances. Roslyn earned a BA in writing and communications from Maryville College and has written professionally for more than a decade, showing up on Bankrate, MSN and Reader's Digest.
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