What is Medical Payments (Med-Pay) Coverage?
Medical Payments insurance coverage, commonly referred to as “med-pay”, is additional auto insurance coverage which pays for you and your passenger’s medical, hospital and rehabilitative care without regard to fault. In other words, it is a type of “no fault” auto insurance coverage which pays for accident-related injuries to you and/or your passenger’s even if the accident was YOUR fault. Most auto med-pay policies come in the following limits: $5,000; $10,000; $25,000; and rarely, $100,000.00.
As of January 1, 2009, Colorado insurers are required to offer you $5,000 in coverage. You must opt out or the coverage and premium will automatically be added (whether you’re buying a new policy or renewing one.) You can choose not to buy med pay. But, if you don’t want it you must reject it in writing. The new law also requires your insurer to hold $5,000 of your medical payments coverage for 30 days to pay for trauma bills first.
In the event the policyholder or prospective policyholder rejects med-pay coverage, the insurance company will have to provide proof that the insured rejected med-pay IN WRITING. If they cannot provide the written proof of rejection, the insured can “reform” the contract to include $5,000 of med-pay coverage.
Should I ever reject or opt out of Med-Pay?
NO! Med-pay will help cover any medical bills, including ambulance fees, x-rays, chiropractor, dental and prosthetics, after a car accident so this is a must. Med-Pay coverage follows the policyholder. In other words, if you’re walking, riding in a friend’s vehicle, or using public transportation, your med-pay coverage remains active. This applies both in and out of the state you’re insured in.
If I use my Med-Pay, does my premium go up if the accident is not my fault?
No! A car insurance company cannot increase your premium for payments made under med pay coverage. The regulation can be found at 3 CCR 702-5:5-2-12 titled “Concerning Automobile Insurance Consumer Protections.” It describes specific instances when a motor vehicle insurer cannot increase your premium, refuse to write coverage, cancel an existing policy, refuse to renew an existing policy, add a surcharge, or reduce coverage. “Insurers shall not…increase the premium of any complying policy based upon…claims made under medical payments or uninsured motorist coverage.”
How much Med-Pay should I carry?
Medical payments after a car accident can be VERY expensive. The minimum is only $5,000. Your minimum $5,000 can be completely gone if you are taken by an ambulance to the hospital and spend the night.
We recommend for our family and patients “med-pay” of at least $10,000. I personally have $25,000 “medical payment coverage” on my policy. This simple little add-on will cost you a little more (in many cases about $10 to $20 a month).
Med pay coverage will cover you, your family and friends in your car if there are any injuries. I have had many patients who have to pay cash, out of pocket for treatment because they opted out of this coverage without knowing it. You may end up paying thousands if you get taken to the hospital by ambulance, stay a night and get chiropractic treatment.
I also have “uninsured” and “underinsured” protection in case if someone who hits me has no insurance or very little coverage. PLEASE make sure you ask for this also.
I have health insurance, why do I need Med-Pay?
Personal health insurance has limits (as to which hospital you may use, what doctors you can see, what treatment you may receive and how often you may get treatment). You will have to pay for co-pays and deductibles.
Your health insurance will only cover you and your immediate family. Your health insurance will NOT cover other passengers in the car (like mom, dad, cousins, uncles, niece, nephews and friends!)
Your med-pay covers everyone in the car and does not have the same limitations as your health insurance. With med pay you are free to see any doctor you want.