Med Pay, or Medical Payment coverage, is a type of insurance that is designed to provide fast payment of medical bills in the event of an accident. It is a hybrid kind of coverage, part auto and part medical, that is sold by auto insurers. In Colorado, auto insurers are required to offer at least $5000 in Med Pay coverage.
If you own Med Pay, it will pay for your accident-related medical bills even if you caused the accident, and no matter who is at fault.
Quick Payments to Accident Victims
Med Pay is specifically designed to provide quick payments to accident victims. It is not a substitute for health insurance, but it benefits accident victims in ways that traditional health insurance does not. For example:
- Med Pay is not subject to deductibles or co-pays
- Med Pay can be used to pay health insurance deductibles
- Med Pay does not have to be reimbursed from your settlement
Traditional health insurers can demand to be reimbursed from your settlement, a process known as subrogation. That means if your health insurance pays $5000 for your care and you receive a $15,000 settlement, your health insurer can demand $5000 back. Med Pay is different. It is essentially cash that is set aside for you and it is not subject to repayment.
How Can Med Pay Be Used?
Med Pay can be used to pay for ambulance bills, doctor bills, physical therapy, radiology, and many other reasonable treatments after an accident. To use Med Pay, call your auto insurer and tell them you are going to get treatment for your injuries. You can also present your auto insurance card to medical providers. Remember, Med Pay applies to vehicle-related injuries. If you are struck by a vehicle while walking or biking, your Med Pay still applies.
Should I Opt Out of Med Pay?
Colorado policyholders who do not want to purchase Med Pay must explicitly opt out in writing. Because of this, people are sometimes unaware that they have Med Pay coverage because they don’t remember buying it specifically. They may also erroneously believe they have waived it. If you have waived Med Pay, your insurer should have a copy of the signed waiver on file. If this waiver does not exist, it is likely that you have $5000 in Med Pay coverage.
Sometimes auto insurers encourage people to opt out by saying Med Pay is unnecessary if you have health insurance coverage. If an insurer tells you this, they are not trying to save you money. They are trying to reduce their odds of paying you a costly settlement. Even with health insurance, high deductibles mean you will likely owe thousands of dollars to medical providers before you ever receive a settlement check. Without Med Pay you will be in a position of greater financial stress. Insurers know financial stress will motivate you to prematurely settle your case, before the full extent of your injuries is known. This is exactly what they want.
Is it Worth the Monthly Fees?
Med Pay premiums are usually $5.00 – $15.00 per month. Maybe that’s why people find this coverage confusing—it is a surprisingly good deal! Using your Med Pay for an accident in which you are not at fault will not raise your Med Pay premiums, either. Med Pay is an investment in peace of mind that can provide real financial benefit. If you need it, you’ll be glad it’s there.
Article by Molly Fuscher, Paralegal