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In today’s article, I’ll answer the question: “What is medical payments coverage?” 

I’ll discuss what it covers, how it’s different from other kinds of insurance, and what to watch out for. 

Medical Payments Insurance

Medical payments coverage is a type of insurance that is sometimes included, or can be purchased for an additional premium to an existing insurance policy. Medical payments coverage is sometimes called “MedPay” for short.  If you have MedPay as part of an automobile insurance policy, it will cover medical expenses after you’ve been involved in a car crash. This includes ambulance rides, doctor’s visits, medications, and therapies. 

If you have MedPay coverage, the insurance company will pay these medical expenses for the persons covered, regardless of fault. And they’ll pay up to the limit of coverage, which is usually around $5,000. 

This can be very helpful for people who are injured in states that do not have no-fault insurance, such as Vermont. Many folks suffer minor injuries in a car wreck. They take an ambulance to the emergency room where they’re often treated and released. 

Without medical payments coverage, if these folks don’t have health insurance to cover their bills, the only way to get their medical expenses paid is by bringing a lawsuit or personal injury claim. 

You’ll also find medical payments coverage in commercial insurance policies, such as those issued for businesses. 

Insurance companies like MedPay because it takes care of expenses associated with minor injuries and has the effect of reducing the number of lawsuits and claims, which ultimately saves insurance companies money. 

Who Does Medical Payments Cove

While the exact coverage depends in the specific insurance policy language, MedPay typically covers the driver and passengers in a crash. It may also cover you or your family members if you are a passenger in someone else’s car. MedPay may also cover you if you’re a pedestrian who is hit by a car. 

Med Pay Coverage in New York

New York drivers, and drivers from other states who are injured in crashes in New York, have the benefit of no-fault or personal injury protection coverage, known as “PIP” for short. No-fault is much more comprehensive than MedPay. No-fault will cover your lost income for a period of time after the crash, and the total benefit is at least $50,000. 

Medical Payments Coverage vs. No-Fault Insurance vs. Liability Insurance

There can be a lot of overlap in terms of what kinds of things each of these types of insurance will pay for. Medical care can be paid out of each type of coverage, of course.

Typically, you won’t find medical payments coverage in an automobile insurance policy that already has no-fault insurance, since no-fault covers basically the same things and more. 

If you are hurt on someone’s property, there may be medical payments coverage and liability coverage, but not no-fault, since no-fault is only for injuries involving motor vehicles. 

MedPay and no-fault only cover the exact amount needed to pay for medical care, whereas liability or bodily injury coverage is meant to include all of the harms and losses that are caused by the crash. This includes emotional distress and other damages that are very real but just don’t exist on paper. 

And medical payments coverage doesn’t include lost wages or future lost income. 

Generally speaking, the law – and insurance companies – don’t want you to receive money twice for the same thing. 

So you can make out claims under medical payments coverage and liability coverage, but the amount of the medical payments coverage may reduce what you can receive under the liability coverage (what’s called an offset). 

And in New York, you are not allowed to claim things that are paid by no-fault in a personal injury case. 

Do You Have to Repay Med Pay?

If you accept and use the medical payments coverage through your auto policy instead of health insurance, you will probably have to pay back your auto insurance policy for the amount of the MedPay that you used. 

Summary: What Is Medical Payments Coverage

Your takeaways from today’s article are these. 

  1. Medical payments coverage or MedPay is a type of insurance that will pay for certain medical expenses up to a low limit, usually around $5,000 or so, regardless of who is at fault for the injury.
  2. MedPay may be part of a commercial or automobile insurance policy.  
  3. MedPay is simpler but less complete than liability insurance or no-fault. And MedPay is just that – there is no payment for lost income or other kinds of harm and losses
  4. If you use medical payments coverage and have a personal injury claim or lawsuit, you may have to pay back the MedPay when you settle your personal injury claim. 

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