If don’t understand the question, first, let’s talk about what Med Pay is, really briefly: In North Carolina, you can buy extra coverage on your automobile insurance policy that’s called “Medical Payments” coverage, or “Med Pay” for short. It’s no-fault, very limited, coverage that will repay your for medical expenses incurred as the result of an automobile accident regardless of fault. It doesn’t raise your rates, so if you have it, use it! I’ve written tons of articles on that, so hearken back to those.
Once you understand what it is, and that it should be used, THIS question arises: Who handles it? Should you handle it? Should your attorney? Should you let some health care provider access it directly? The answer, as usual in the legal field, is, “it depends.”
Generally speaking, the safest play is to let your competent, experienced personal injury attorney obtain the med pay and hold onto it until it’s time to disburse ALL of the funds (liability settlement, too). That way, your attorney can tell what bills MUST be satisfied with those funds, and to what extent. You see, just because there’s a balance owed on the bill doesn’t mean that the settlement funds HAVE to be used to satisfy it. The providers have to have a validly perfected lien to have a right of recovery as to these funds. And even then, under certain circumstances, the providers might not have a right to have ALL of their bill paid, to your detriment. This is why it’s important to have your attorney handle this, because your attorney can determine who HAS to get paid AND HOW MUCH, to make sure your recovery is protected by your rights.
Of course, you can collect the Med Pay on your own if you want. Sometimes this is critical for a victim to use as a little account to fund co-pays which they otherwise couldn’t do. So if this is necessary, fine, but do be warned of the above issue; ignoring liens and paying that money to yourself or non-lien holders can have consequences you would be better to avoid. This is why having an attorney handle the Med Pay makes the most sense.
Sometimes health care providers want to access your Med Pay directly to pay their bill. First, if you have health insurance, my question would be why are you using that? Often times providers don’t want to use health insurance because, frankly, they get paid less when they do. But also, it can be a problem for you because you have a co-pay to pay EVERY time you go, which can add up quickly. Still, if you can use health insurance, you should, and that would get rid of this problem. If you don’t have it, or can’t use it for whatever reason, then having the provider access the Med Pay directly is a good way to make sure they are paid. Still, same problem as above, if you pay some lien holders or non-lien holders, and don’t pay lien holders, then you could find yourself in trouble.
It shouldn’t be this complicated. But it is. So until it’s simpler, call an attorney like me to get help ASAP. 919-929-2992.