Medical payments coverage can be a useful supplement to your health insurance in a car accident.
You probably have health insurance, but it may not cover all of your medical costs from an auto accident. Medical payments coverage can help fill in the gaps.
What is 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 such expenses 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.
Does it 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.
What is a deductible?
The deductible is what you’ll pay before your insurance company will pay a claim.
Let’s say you file a claim with your insurance company for a $5,000 car repair bill. Your insurance covers you for that amount, but it includes a $500 deductible. This means you must pay $500 out of your own pocket before your insurance will cover the other $4,500.
How it’s different from personal injury protection
Med pay is similar to personal injury protection in that it covers medical costs after an accident. The policies differ in many ways, however, such as:
Medical payments coverage in action
As a result of an auto accident, you need a $7,000 medical operation. You have health insurance, but it comes with a $1,500 deductible and a 20% copay. In total, you’re looking at an out-of-pocket expense of $2,900.
Luckily, you’ve purchased medical payments coverage that pays for your deductible and copays. Instead of paying $2,900 for your operation, you pay nothing.
Why should I buy medical payments coverage?
If you already have car insurance and health insurance, you might be wondering why you need medical payments coverage. Doesn’t health insurance and med pay pretty much cover the same thing?
Though there will be overlap between the two, they don’t provide the same coverage. In fact, there are many costs your health insurance may not cover, such as prosthetic limbs, ambulance fees and funeral expenses. Medical payments coverage will take care of those costs. It can also pay for your health insurance deductible or copays.
If you live in Maine or New Hampshire, you’re required to have medical payments coverage.
How much does medical payments coverage 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.
How do I buy medical payments coverage?
Your current insurance provider will offer medical payments coverage — contact them and ask for more details.
Providers that offer medical payments coverage
Medical payments 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 funeral costs and injuries sustained by a passenger in your car.
Med pay 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 a lot of money.
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-$37. The lower your limit, the lower your monthly cost.
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 med pay 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.
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. Don’t be afraid to shop around for the best price on car insurance.