If you’ve been injured in a car accident and have no money or health insurance, you might wonder who is going to pay for all your medical bills. You may wonder why the person who caused the accident (or their insurance company) won’t pay for treatment right away.
The true answer is that you are ultimately responsible for paying your medical bills as you get treatment and the at-fault driver is not required to pay your medical bills as you incur them. You may win compensation for your medical bills and other damages when you settle your personal injury claim or win your lawsuit, but that may take months, even years, and that doesn’t help you get the medical care you need NOW.
Depending on your circumstances, if you have no health insurance and/or no money to pay for medical care, you might be able to use one or more of the following ways to have at least some of your medical bills paid:
- Medical payment coverage under your own automobile insurance policy
- Physician and Hospital Liens
- Illinois Public Aid/Medicaid
We’ll take a quick look at each of these options.
Medical Payment Coverage
Look at your own car insurance policy to see if you have this coverage. Although “med pay” limits are generally $10,000 or less, they can be as high as $100,000. No matter what the amount, those funds are available to anyone in your car who was injured, regardless of fault. Once those funds are used up, however, you will still be responsible for payment of any unpaid bills. Other portions of your own insurance, called uninsured and underinsured motorist insurance, may also provide you with a way to recover for your injuries if the other driver has little or no insurance.
Physician and Hospital Liens
Many doctors and hospitals understand that their patients are in desparate need of medical care but have no ability to immediately pay for that treatment. In Illinois, the health care provider will forego immediate payment and wait to receive payment out of the personal injury settlement by forwarding a written notice of “lien” to the patient’s attorney. This allows you to get the medical care you need while providing a means for the healthcare provider to eventually get paid for those services.
Illinois Public Aid/Medicaid
Medicaid is a federal health insurance program that provides health insurance to low-income people through the state agency, Illinois Public Aid. If you get into a car accident and have no insurance and/or job as a result of the collision, you may qualify for this type of program. This program is not a handout or charity, but is a health insurance program for low-income people. You may contact the Illinois Department of Health and Human Services to see if you may qualify.
Whatever your situation, if you’ve been injured in a collision and are having problems arranging for medical treatment, you should contact the attorneys at Law Offices of Mathys & Schneid so we can advise you how to get the treatment you need in order to get better.