Q. I have settled my accident claim. I used my health insurance coverage to pay for my medical bills when I was recovering from the accident. Do I have to pay them back?
A. The general answer is usually, yes. Your health care company usually has what is called a contingent right of reimbursement under the policy. We would have to review the policy to fully understand the specific rights but in most cases they have a right to be reimbursed, if you settle or win any case and are compensated for injuries and medical care from a 3rd party. They paid for the medical treatment and if you receive compensation for those medical bills, it usually should be paid back. Or else, it may seem like a windfall for you, because you are receiving payment for something someone else paid for.
This helps you out as well, because if you paid for any expenses out of your own pocket, you have a right to receive compensation/reimbursement for it.
So the next question is how much do you have to pay the health insurance company back? The full and complete answer to that is too complex for this article, but simply put there are ways to reduce the amount that must be paid back to the insurance company. For example, if the proceeds from the settlement or award is not enough to ensure you are fully compensated for all of your bills and injuries, it is possible the health insurance carrier takes only a proportional share of what they are owed.
For example, if your compensation totaled $50,000 this includes medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, but you only received $25,000, then the carrier would only get 50% of benefits they paid.
Furthermore, in practice you can negotiate with the health insurance company. An experienced attorney may get them to reduce their demands for a variety of reasons. Before attempting to settle an accident claim, or even talking to the insurance companies, consult with an experienced San Diego Car Accident Lawyer to determine whether or not you will wipe out your settlement due to reimbursement of your health insurance and payment of medical bills, leaving you without any compensation for your injuries.
If you would like more information on dealing with your personal injury claim, car accident, or paying for your medical bills, be sure to browse this site, contact Joseph Dang or order a your free copy of his book.