For some reason, many people feel threatened, anxious, and angry when the topic of health insurance comes up. They rail against “Obamacare,” the high cost of insurance premiums, and the complexities of obtaining health insurance coverage. Some people refuse to buy health insurance, even though it is required by law, even though there are tax penalties if you fail to purchase it, and even though it is a good idea.
Leaving aside for the moment the political arguments surrounding health insurance, here are some practical reasons why failure to have health insurance may harm your personal injury case:
- If you are injured in an automobile crash and you don’t have Personal Injury Protection (“PIP”) insurance and don’t have health insurance, who will likely pay your medical bills while you recover? Answer: YOU!
- If you are injured on someone else’s property and don’t have health insurance, who will likely pay your medical bills while you recover? Answer: YOU!
- If you are injured as a result of an uninsured motorist while you are walking or riding your bike and you don’t have PIP insurance or health insurance, who will likely pay your medical bills while you recover? Answer: YOU!
- If you are injured as a result of a medical error and you don’t have health insurance, who will likely pay your medical bills while you recover? Answer: YOU!
- If you don’t have health or PIP insurance and cannot pay for medical treatment you need, what happens to your case? Answer: Your case resolves for MUCH less than you are entitled to because the overall value of your case is directly related to the amount of your medical bills.
- If you don’t have health or PIP insurance and cannot pay for the medical bills you already incurred, what happens? Answer: You get sent to collection and your credit gets ruined.
Note that these bad consequences will happen even if someone else is at fault for your injuries! The person who is responsible for your injuries doesn’t have to pay for your medical treatment until the very end of the case, after you have already recovered from your injuries.
In addition, if you use PIP or health insurance to pay your medical bills, you will have to use some of the money we get you for your claim to repay that insurer, but we can often get a significant discount on what we pay back to that insurer. Sometimes the discount is as much as 30%-40%. Because the person who caused your injury has to pay you 100% of your medical bills at the end of the case and you only have to pay back 60%-70%, that extra money goes in YOUR pocket!
However, if you don’t have health insurance, then you will have to pay 100% of the medical bill and you will not realize any discount or cost savings at the end of the case. In addition, if you incurred collection fees or interest, you may actually end up not being fully reimbursed.
Long story short, ALWAYS buy health insurance!! If you are injured, it will protect you in ways you can’t even imagine. And, since none of us can prevent every single injury or force other people to be more careful, you never know when you will need it.