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What is Med Pay and Why Should I Buy It?

March 13, 2019 by Adam Harrison

Health insurance application form with banknote and stethoscope concept for life planning.

Here in Colorado, all motorists must purchase automobile liability insurance in order to legally operate a vehicle on the highways of this state.  This liability insurance must provide benefits (limits of liability) of at least $25,000.00 per person and $50,000.00 per accident.  This type of insurance provides benefits to those who may be injured by your negligence, but it does not provide any benefits to you. If you or a loved one have been injured, contact The Sawaya Law Firm, for a free consultation!

There are other types of automobile insurance that you can buy, which will provide benefits to you if you are in an accident.  One such type of insurance provides Medical Payments Benefits (“Med Pay”).  This insurance is typically sold in multiples of $5,000.00 (meaning $5,000.00, $10,000.00, $25,000.00 or more).  Med Pay benefits are available for you and anyone else who is injured while occupying your vehicle.  These benefits are available to protect you from having to pay for your accident-related expenses including ambulance bills, emergency room bills and surgical bills.  The benefits also cover testing including X-rays, CT Scans and MRIs.  These benefits will cover your follow up care and treatment with doctors, physical therapists, and chiropractors.  These benefits will cover your medical bills even if you are the one at fault for the accident.

Med Pay coverage is optional.  You do not have to purchase it in order to comply with Colorado law regarding insurance coverage.  Many people believe that if they have health insurance from another source (Medicare, Medicaid or through their employment), it is not necessary to purchase Med Pay coverage for their auto.  However, even if you have health insurance available to you from another source, it is a mistake to pass up the opportunity to purchase Med Pay coverage on your automobile insurance policy. 

Ordinary health insurance, even Medicare and Medicaid, generally requires you to cover a co-pay at the time of service.  These co-pays can be very large, especially if you are being seen by a specialist.  Most health insurance policies also require you to satisfy an annual deductible before the health insurance will cover your medical bills.  These annual deductibles can range from as little as $1,500.00 or $2,000.00 up to $10,000.00 or more.  These large deductibles and co-pays often make health insurance useless for day to day coverage of treatment with doctors, chiropractors and physical therapists. 

Furthermore, if you use health insurance to cover your accident-related expenses, and then recover a settlement or jury verdict that compensates you for your injuries, the health insurance company is legally entitled to demand reimbursement of everything that they paid to cover your bills.  That is correct, you pay a monthly premium for your health insurance coverage, the health insurance company covers your bills, and at the time of settlement, you still must pay everything back to the health insurer!  This is just more evidence of how the system is rigged to favor insurance companies and punish you, the injured person.

However, the law treats Med Pay coverage differently.  You do not have to satisfy any annual deductible before Med Pay coverage is available.  Med Pay coverage can even be used to pay your deductibles at the doctor’s office and hospital.  Most importantly, when you settle your case, you do not have to reimburse the insurance company for anything that was covered by Med Pay benefits.

Med Pay coverage is typically available with your auto insurance for a small premium.  But that small premium can provide you with tremendous peace of mind and make a huge difference in how much money you actually receive in your pocket from the settlement of your claim.  It is a wise investment and you should ask your insurance agent about this coverage. If you have more questions, contact The Sawaya Law Firm for a free consultation.

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