If you’ve been in a car accident, chances are you are disoriented, overwhelmed, and potentially injured. You will have so much to deal with, and medical costs can be quite a headache if you don’t know what to expect. At AICA Orthopedics, our team is dedicated to treating car accident injuries and helping you through the insurance process as much as possible.
AICA Orthopedics Tucker treats car accident victims daily, and our extensive experience can get you on the road to healing without adding undue burden to your plate! Our knowledge and experience as car wreck doctors can help relieve some of the stress following an accident. AICA Orthopedics accepts most forms of health insurance and specializes in third-party liability (coverage that pays for medical care if you were not at fault), and we can help you navigate the paperwork involved.
What Is Insurance?
When you are injured in a car accident and seek treatment, you might expect your health insurance to cover the associated costs. According to the CDC, car accidents account for an estimated $44 billion in medical and work loss costs each year.
However, your health insurance may not cover treatment for any injuries, or they may cover just a small percentage. Depending on who is at fault, your car insurance or third-party liability insurance may cover some costs.
The Differences Between Health and Auto Insurance
Health or medical insurance is a policy that contracts with an insurer to cover all or some of your healthcare needs in exchange for a premium. Health insurance is meant to cover routine and accidental health concerns. The contract can be very specific. Make sure you read your policy thoroughly to see if it will cover car wreck-related health issues. Some insurers will, but only after your auto policy has paid a portion, and some will cover none.
Auto insurance operates similarly to health insurance. In exchange for a premium, an insurer is contracted to cover all or a portion of the costs if you are in a car accident or your car is damaged in a theft. Car insurance can also have additional coverage if you are at fault, which will cover the medical costs of the other party.
What Costs Might You Be Subject to After a Wreck?
You may be surprised at the number of costs associated with a car accident and treatment for associated injuries. The average claim for injury from a car accident is approximately $15,000, a relatively low number for medical bills.
Emergency Services and Ambulance Transport
Treatment by EMS is, unfortunately, not free. You can receive a bill for any minor or life-saving treatment they provide. This is the first charge of many following an accident. If you need to be transported via ambulance to a medical center for treatment, that bill can cost anywhere between $250-$2000.
Emergency Room Care
Once you have arrived at a hospital, you will be taken and evaluated in the Emergency Department. The average cost of a visit to an emergency room is $2500, but if you have more severe injuries, this cost will increase exponentially.
What Are the Potential Costs Associated with Needed Care?
Every test ordered when treating injuries sustained in a car accident will have an associated charge. Tests such as bloodwork, x-rays, CT, or MRI scans are just a few potential tests.
Medications administered while being treated for acute injuries can be another item that can be added to your bill. If you are on long-term medications to manage lingering pain or injuries, these can cost upwards of $400 a month.
If your injuries are severe enough, you may require surgery. This is probably the most expensive possibility when calculating the total cost of medical care after a car accident. Surgery requires many staff, supplies, and medication. This doesn’t even consider if you need to remain inpatient at the hospital after surgery.
If you need transport home, whether because you are unable to drive or your car was too damaged in the accident, transport back home from the hospital will cost money as well.
Long-term recovery costs can add up quickly. Medication, supplies, and continued doctor visits can all cost money and may or may not be covered by your insurance.
Car Insurance Coverage for Medical Expenses
If you have been in a car accident, and it is not your fault, there are even more options to reduce your out-of-pocket costs. It is important to seek medical treatment, document everything, and consult an experienced lawyer. If your medical insurance does pay for any treatment of car accident injuries, they could be reimbursed by the responsible party.
MedPay or Medical Payments
MedPay coverage is exactly what it sounds like; it is part of your auto insurance policy and helps pay your or your passenger’s medical expenses if you’re injured in a car accident.
PIP or Personal Injury Protection
Personal Injury Protection coverage is mandatory in several states but is optional in Georgia. PIP coverage is additional liability insurance designed as “no-fault” coverage. This means that regardless of who was at fault for the accident, some medical expenses may be covered.
PIP is different from medical payment coverage in that it can also cover lost wages, funeral expenses, and even rehab services.
Get the Details!
Does Emergency Treatment Cost More?
Depending on the severity of your car accident, you might not seek medical treatment immediately. While it is important to be evaluated as soon as possible, if you are unable to seek treatment immediately, you might avoid some of the higher costs associated with the emergency room.
Not Every Doctor Charges the Same
Once you’ve had any acute injuries evaluated and treated, any subsequent treatment doesn’t have to be overly expensive. If you need to see a specialist or have long-term therapy, call around to various offices to find the best pricing for you. At AICA Orthopedics, our team is here to help you make the best decisions for your treatment and file the necessary paperwork to have services covered.
Talk to Your Doctor
Some doctors may offer discounts for paying in cash or paying in full before treatment. If you were treated at a hospital, check to see if they have financial aid programs, these programs are there to help mitigate overwhelming medical bills if your income is below a certain level.
Medication is one of the easiest aspects of medical treatment to negotiate. Most medications have what is called a generic version. This is usually priced much lower than the name-brand equivalent. In addition, there are many prescription drug discount programs on the market that help you get medications deeply discounted.
What Is an Explanation of Benefits (EOB)?
You will receive an explanation of benefits for any service billed to your insurance. This EOB will tell you what service was provided, what the hospital billed your insurance, the amount your insurance paid, and any remaining amount you are responsible for.
Ask for an Itemized List of Charges
One way to make sure you aren’t being charged for something by mistake, as well as being able to see a detailed breakdown of charges, is to understand what you are being charged for. It’s a great tool if you decide to negotiate directly with the hospital or other health care provider.
Can I Be Billed in Error?
Errors in billing happen, so make sure you go through the itemized list of charges and understand what your health and auto insurances cover. This will help you make sure all the charges are correct. Looking through all the charges for services provided can potentially save you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars if you discover an error. If you do note an error in your bill, contact the hospital or doctor’s office and let them know so it can be corrected.
Call a Lawyer
Personal injury lawyers have years of experience navigating the paperwork associated with car accidents and the medical treatment involved. The aim of hiring a lawyer is to help you navigate the legal system, understand your case, and help relieve some of the stress you are probably experiencing following a car accident.
If your injuries are a result of a car wreck, AICA can perform state-of-the-art imaging to determine the extent of your injuries. Following diagnosis and treatment, our orthopedic doctors can collaborate with our physical therapists and chiropractors to develop a treatment plan. Physical therapy can improve strength and flexibility, and a visit with a chiropractor can help alleviate pain while you are healing.
Because AICA handles auto accident injuries daily, we can answer any questions you may have about your injuries or treatment process from start to finish. In addition to advanced imaging, we are also able to perform any necessary orthopedic or spine surgery your injuries may require. Our specialists will talk you through all of your options for your car accident injuries, and our orthopedic doctors will help you determine the best treatment plan. Early medical attention leads to faster healing times; call or visit us online to get started at AICA Orthopedic Tucker or another of our locations near you.