The only thing worse than being injured is having to pay your medical bills, especially if your injuries weren’t your fault. The cost of medical treatment in the US is soaring, and many people struggle when it comes to finding coverage. If you have a personal injury or workplace injury claim, you may be wondering what options you have for paying for medical treatment. Here is an overview of the most common ways that people get coverage for their medical treatment:
Letter of Protection
A Letter of Protection (LOP) is a letter sent by an attorney to a medical provider promising to pay that provider for their medical services out of a future settlement agreement or damages awarded at trial. Having an LOP allows you to get the care you need without having to pay upfront. If your personal injury lawyer in Arlington, TX settles your case or obtains a judgment at trial, they are obligated to make sure that your doctors’ bills are paid out of those funds. Ultimately, using an LOP means that the opposing party or their insurance pays for your medical bills. An LOP does not protect you from debt collectors if your case is dropped without settling or if you don’t win anything at trial—if your case ends without a settlement, you are still responsible for paying your outstanding medical bills.
Personal Health Insurance
If you have health insurance, you can always use that insurance to cover the cost of your medical treatment. Often, using your own health insurance can even benefit your case—it shows the opposing party that your injuries are serious enough that you are willing to pay the upfront costs of your treatment. Even if a bill has been paid in part or in full by your health insurance, those bills can still be submitted as part of your damages to the opposing party’s insurance. While it is safe to use your health insurance, you should avoid mentioning your Personal Injury claim; health insurance companies have a right to recover the cost of treatment they paid for if you are getting a settlement for your bodily injuries.
If you have coverage through Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, the VA, or other similar public assistance programs, you can use that coverage to seek medical treatment. Just like with health insurance, the government has a right to recover the cost of your medical treatment if you get a Personal Injury settlement. If you are using Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, or VA benefits, make sure to tell your attorney and to provide them with all of your benefits information.
While it may be beyond many people’s means, paying out of pocket is always an option. It too can also be a great way to show the opposing party that you are not exaggerating your injuries. In addition, many doctors will offer a discount to patients who are self-paying. Just like with health insurance and public assistance, bill that have been paid in part or in full can still be submitted as part of your damages to the opposing party’s insurance.
If you are involved in a workplace injury, it is important to find out what options your employer has in terms of workers’ compensation. If your employer is covered by workers’ compensation, you are usually obligated to use worker’s compensation to cover the cost of your treatment.
Be very careful before sending bills and records directly to the opposing party or their insurance. Many insurance companies will make lots of promises to persuade you against hiring an attorney. It is common for an insurance company to promise to pay all of your bills if you will just have your doctors send them directly to them; however, you may find that after you have gotten treatment, the insurance company is no longer willing to pay those bills in full. Always talk to an attorney before signing any authorizations allowing an opposing party’s insurance to pay your bills directly.
If you are injured and are in pain, your number one priority is to seek medical attention right away. Looking out for your health and well-being should always come before any potential settlement from a responsible party. Additionally, treating right away can help you avoid problems when it comes to settling your claim. Waiting too long to seek treatment can potentially damage your case; large gaps in treatment gives the opposing party’s insurance company a credible reason to deny your claim.
Thanks to The Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC for their insight into personal injury claims and covering the costs for injury treatment.