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Should I buy Medical Payments coverage if I have health insurance?

By Insurance.com Posted : 01/01/2011

Car insurance includes several types of coverage, some of which is required and some of which is optional. The requirements vary according to state law. All states except New Hampshire require car owners to have a certain amount of liability insurance, which covers damage and injuries you cause others in an accident. Some states also require PIP -- personal injury protection -- coverage, which pays for medical expenses and lost wages if you and your passengers are injured in an accident, regardless of who was at fault.

Medical Payments, called MedPay is similar to PIP, although it doesn't cover lost wages. For the most part, you don't need MedPay if you already have PIP. If you don't have PIP, then MedPay might be worth considering, even if you have health insurance because MedPay generally has no deductible. A health insurance policy also wouldn't take care of the passengers in your car.

But MedPay should never be considered as a replacement for health insurance coverage. For one thing, it pays for treatment only for injuries suffered in a car accident. It does not cover treatment of injuries you suffer from any other cause or for treatment of any illnesses or for preventive care. MedPay also has a dollar limit on covered medical expenses. Most insurance companies don't provide MedPay coverage beyond $25,000. Once the medical bills for treatment of injuries from a car accident reach the policy limit, the coverage ends.

If you have MedPay, always use it first for medical bills stemming from car accidents. Your health insurance company might deny the claims until you've used up the MedPay coverage. Once you've exhausted the car insurance MedPay, then health insurance should kick in.

For more, see "Is car insurance medical coverage a rip-off?"

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