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Posted on 08-03-2015

Financial Considerations Following Baltimore Auto Accidents

As a Baltimore Chiropractor that spends the majority of my time treating patients involved in Baltimore auto accidents, I often get asked by injured patients what their financial options are following their Baltimore auto accident injuries. Below, in no particularly order, are their options for paying for treatment while under my care for their Baltimore auto accident injuries.

1) Cash or "fee for service." - Patients are allowed to "pay as they go." That is, services can be rendered on a daily basis, and a patient can pay for these services at the conclusion of their visit. Typically the first visit is a bit more expensive since it involves x-rays and a new patient evaluation. Moving forward, subsequent treatments are less expensive. This option can be attractive for very minor injuries that do not require more than a few treatments or for patients that do not want to submit claims to an insurance company.

2) PIP/Med Pay - Maryland auto insurance is required to offer no-fault benefits known as PIP. This stands for Personal Injury Protection. PIP is a benefit that will pay to your providers money for your care, regardless of fault in a Baltimore auto accident. PIP is written in amounts of $2,500, $5,000 or $10,000 and is generally available to help pay for care unless denied in writing as of the time of writing of the insurance policy. PIP pays for any and all reasonable, customary, and usual treatment associated with Baltimore auto accident injuries. Additionally, PIP has a wage loss component as well. This allows for injured patients to recover some lost wages if they are unable to work as a result of their injuries. Typically patients can recover up to 85% of their lost wages resulting from their injuries and can be paid by PIP to help make ends meet while they are out of work. Med Pay is fairly similar to PIP in its design with the main difference being that there is no wage loss component to Med Pay. It strictly exists as a form of no-fault medical payments to treating providers. Med Pay is a rare add on in Maryland, but it warrants discussion nonetheless. If you are unsure whether or not your policy has riders for PIP or Med Pay you should speak with your insurance representative.

3) Health Insurance - Just like with any other doctor for any other reason, injured patients that have health insurance can use it to pay for their care in this office following a Baltimore auto accident. Patients electing to use their health insurance to pay for care must first make sure that we are on the health insurance panel and are "in network." Provided that we are we can see them by collecting a copayment (copay) each visit. Typically Chiropractors are considered specialists by most health insurance companies, and as a result, copays are typically higher than in a primary care physician's office. It is not unusual for a copay to be $30-$50 per visit for chiropractic services. This can be unappealing to injured patients following non-faulted Baltimore auto accidents, and as a result, it is not that common that patients elect to pay out of pocket on a per-visit-basis. Additionally, some insurance companies deny payment on behalf of their injured policy holders, citing that the injuries in question arose out of a Baltimore auto accident, and as such, insurance companies will try to wait for months or in some cases years to pay out because they want to see what the outcome of third party litigation is before paying. Needless to say, although possible, many injured Baltimore auto accident patients do not elect to choose this method to pay for their treatment.

4) Liens - Liens are an agreement between an injured patient and their treating provider to delay receiving payment for treatment until a later date. Typically that date is until the injured party recovers financially from an adverse insurance company. In these instances, care is placed essentially on an "IOU" or "credit card" type arrangement where services are rendered and the patient will defer repayment until they have the money to do so. Liens are never contingent on the outcome of litigation. That is, if an injured party alleges that they were the victim of another person's negligence and they attempt to sue another insurance company or party but fail to recover any money, they still owe the treating provider for all services rendered while under their care. In this instance, debt is not just simply dismissed, but rather, then transferred directly to the injured party. In instances where the injured party then chooses not to pay their provider, or is not in a position to do so financially, their account is transferred to a collections service to help satisfy the debt. Many Baltimore auto accident injury patients do not feel comfortable in a third party lien type of situation (where they represent their legal interests on their own behalf), so instead, choose to hire a qualified personal injury attorney who can help protect their financial best interest while undergoing treatment. That is, the attorney can alert all treating providers to the fact that there is still pending litigation, and as such, can request that open accounts be placed "on-hold" for the time being with the expectation of being repaid upon conclusion of the legal proceedings.

Suffice it to say, being injured in a Baltimore auto accident is a stressful time. It is not uncommon to be irritated, injured, left without reliable transportation, and out considerable sums of money for several months all while taking time out of your day to treat for your injuries. Knowing up front what your financial options are following a Baltimore auto accident can help make your choices easier should you ever have the unfortunate circumstance of find yourself injured.

If you, or anyone you know, has been injured as a result of a Baltimore auto accident and you would like to discuss your financial options, please contact Mid-Atlantic Spinal Rehab & Chiropractic at (443) 842-5500. We would be happy to help!

Dr. Gulitz

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