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Posted on 06-15-2015

How Do I Pay for My Medical and Chiropractic Care Following a Baltimore Auto Accident?

As a Baltimore Chiropractor that spends a lot of my time treating patients involved in Baltimore auto accidents and provides treatment to patients with whiplash, headaches, neck pain and back pain I get asked about how patients can have their medical and chiropractic bills paid. Although this is not a clinical discussion, but rather a financial one, I think it comes up in conversation enough that it warrants a small discussion. The three main ways to pay for care following a Baltimore auto accident include PIP, health insurance, and attorney/third party liens.

1. Personal Injury Protection (PIP)

In the State of Maryland it is mandatory that all drivers carry auto insurance. A component of the auto insurance that drivers carry is called PIP, or Personal Injury Protection. PIP is designed to pay for medical care (including x-rays, chiropractic care, and physical therapy) and up to 85% of lost wages for injured people in automobile accidents in Maryland. PIP is a no-fault benefit, meaning that it is available regardless of whether or not the driver caused the crash or was the victim of another driver’s negligence.

PIP is written in different amounts depending on the auto insurance policy. It is usually written in amounts of $2,500, $5,000 or $10,000 and can be waived in writing at the time of purchasing of auto insurance.

Maryland law dictates that medical bills and lost wages that are reasonable, customary, usual, and causally related to the automobile accident will be paid by PIP up to the policy limits.

In cases of non-faulted auto accidents, your auto insurer will not raise your auto insurance premiums even if you file a PIP claim with your own auto insurance company. That is, you can access PIP and use the benefits to pay for your treatment and lost wages without any negative financial consequences to yourself if you were the victim of an accident. If accessed during your treatment, PIP does not need to be repaid upon the conclusion of your treatment.

How do I apply for PIP ?

If you’ve been involved in an automobile accident contact your auto insurance company’s claims hotline to let them know you were injured.

Speak to your claims representative and confirm that you have PIP on your auto insurance policy.

Ask your claim’s representative to mail you an application for PIP benefits.  Typically these forms are about a page long and take less than ten minutes to complete.

Ask the claims adjuster to mail you an Attending Physician’s Report and Salary Verification Form. Hand these to your treating chiropractor and your supervisor at work to be completed.

Upon receipt, complete the applications and mail the PIP application, Attending Physician’s Report and Salary Verification Form back to your claims adjustor.

Provide your claim number, adjuster name, claim office address, and phone number to all of your health care providers. This will allow your providers to be paid for your care while you are still in treatment. This also lowers, or in some cases, eliminates any money owed to your providers for treatment rendered upon conclusion of your care.

What If I don’t have PIP?

Injured patients that do not have access to PIP do have other means to get their bills paid.

If there is no PIP coverage available on your auto insurance you can use your health insurance to pay for your medical care. Health insurance will pay your providers for their services rendered once PIP has been exhausted. The trouble with health insurance following a Baltimore auto accident is that the health insurance company will want to be paid back anything they pay out. That is, after you receive a settlement for your personal injury claim, the injured patient will have to repay any monies paid out by the health insurance company, effectively decreasing the amount of your settlement. To reiterate, PIP monies do not need to be repaid once they've been paid to your providers on your behalf.

Patients that do not have PIP or Health insurance (which sadly occurs more than you might think) are not necessarily out of options. That is, providers such as myself and Dr. Kevin Carr of Carr Medical Specialties will agree to treat you on a third party lien or on an attorney lien. This means that we agree to treat you with no cost out of your pocket and that we agree to wait to get paid until your case settles.  This type of arrangement is a delayed payment arrangement, sort of like a credit card for your care. In these instances if the responsible third party denies liability and does not pay your medical bills you will have to arrange a financial payment schedule with my office. Many patients do not want to deal with the hassles of the paperwork involved in third party liens and instead ask that we refer them directly to a qualified personal injury attorney.

Automobile accidents are stressful but recovery from your injury does not need to be.

If you have questions please speak to the office manager La Keesha Arrington-Vega by phone at (443) 842-5500 or by email at [email protected]. The team at Mid-Atlantic Spinal Rehab & Chiropractic would be happy to help you recover from your Baltimore auto accident injuries.

Dr. Gulitz

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