Car accident injury treatment, who pays?
There are a few options to cover the cost of treatment for car accident injuries. In our office, we accept many types of insurance coverage.
I will explain here…
Full Coverage Auto Insurance
Full coverage auto insurance may include medical coverage if you are injured as a passenger, a driver and or a pedestrian. This is titled PIP (Personal Injury Protection) or Med Pay (Medical Payments). This is no-fault coverage and will cover you for injuries whether the auto accident is your fault or not. There is no deductible and there are no co-payments. PIP/MED PAY will cover all medically necessary and related expenses for up to 3 years and or until the policy limits are reached (10K, 25K, 35K). PIP can be used for chiropractic treatment, massage treatment, medical and other treatments. Opening a PIP claim will not be used against you by your insurance carrier if the collision is not your fault. If you are not at-fault in the collision the PIP carrier (auto insurance – Farmers, State Farm, USAA, etc.) will be reimbursed by the at-fault driver’s insurance once the claim is closed. In Washington State PIP is required to be offered on all full coverage auto insurance policies. WA state drivers can waive their right to PIP at the time of insurance purchase. Following an accident, drivers may need to check with their insurance company and request a copy of the signed waiver if PIP is not included in their policy.
Private Health Insurance
Private health insurance will also cover injuries suffered as a result of an auto accident. Regence, Premera, Kaiser Permanente, First Choice Health, etc. are just a few examples of health insurance carriers that we bill on behalf of our patients. If you are not at-fault and your health insurance initially covers/pays for your injury treatment they will request to be reimbursed from the at-fault driver’s auto insurance policy. This process is titled subrogation. If you are at-fault your insurance carrier will cover the treatment for injuries sustained. Whether you are at-fault or not, if a health insurance carrier is billed then the patient must pay related deductibles and co-payments at the time of service which can become costly for the patient with regular treatment.
3rd Party Lien
The last option for covering the cost of treatment is called a 3rd Party Lien position. Our office will hold a third-party lien position for qualified patients. This is very uncommon for medical providers, chiropractors, physical therapy offices, etc. to allow for this type of billing. The at-fault party’s insurance is the 3rd Party. This means that as we provide treatment, we hold the balance for the patient. Our office does not require the patient to pay co-payments and or partial payments. Once treatment has been finished, we will receive payment directly by the insurance company at the end of treatment once the patient and or patient’s attorney structures an agreement (settlement) with the insurance company. We will file a medical lien with Pierce County which allows the insurance company to pay us on your behalf when treatment has concluded.
If you have any questions, please contact my office, Premier Chiropractic of Tacoma. As always, car accident consultations are free, and our office manager is available to discuss coverage options with you.