Who pays after a car accident?

A few months ago, I was in a minor car accident and went to the hospital to have my ribs x-rayed.  I got taped up and sent home.  I told them at the hospital that it was a car accident, but they must have had my health insurance already on file and sent the bill to them.  Now, I’m stuck with most of the hospital bill because it comes under my deductible.  What should I do?  The accident was the other guy’s fault – shouldn’t his insurance pay?

Minor Ding, Big Bill

Dear Minor Ding, Big Bill,

You are correct that the other driver’s car insurance should pay for your medical care, if he was at fault.

Your first step is to call the hospital’s billing department and explain that another insurer may be responsible for your bill.  Hopefully, you have the other driver’s car insurance information and can give it to them.  The hospital will bill his car insurer for your visit.

The other driver’s car insurance will pay the hospital, if they agree that the accident was their driver’s fault.  You may have to work with them to come to this.  This means you might have to go back to the police report of the accident, assuming there was one, and have an interview with their car insurer.

When the hospital gets paid by the car insurer, they will repay your health plan whatever they paid.  Don’t worry – this happens all the time.

In the meantime, you might have some hassle but at least you were not seriously hurt.


Linda Riddell

About Linda Riddell

A published author and health policy analyst with 25 years’ experience, Linda Riddell's goal is to alleviate the widespread ailment of not knowing what your health plan can do for you.