How Do I See a Doctor After a Car Accident If I Don’t Have Health Insurance?

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While Obamacare required most people to purchase health insurance, that part of the law has been repealed. Even when it was in effect, many people did not sign up for health insurance. Other people lost their insurance and can’t afford a new policy.

Victims of car accidents need healthcare. Injuries heal more quickly with treatment. Some injuries will not heal at all unless they are treated promptly.

Healthcare for serious injuries is expensive. Obtaining treatment can be a problem for accident victims who have no health insurance. It is nevertheless vital to find healthcare as soon as possible.

The failure to obtain medical treatment not only impairs recovery, it impairs the value of the claim for compensation the victim can make against the driver who caused the accident. Insurance claims adjusters argue that if an accident victim did not obtain treatment, the victim must not have been seriously injured.

Claims adjusters also blame victims when a condition worsens because the victim did not receive recommended medical care. The best way to overcome those arguments is to make every effort to see a doctor.

Fortunately, uninsured accident victims have healthcare options. Here are a few things that victims can do to obtain the care they need.

Emergency Care for Georgia Car Accident Victims Who Have No Health Insurance

A seriously injured accident victim who visits an emergency room will almost always receive emergency care. Federal law requires hospitals to treat serious injuries. That law applies to both public and private hospitals.

Emergency rooms are not required to treat patients for free. They can bill the patient for services rendered. However, if the injury will likely place an accident victim’s health in serious jeopardy or cause a serious impairment of bodily functions or organs, the hospital must treat the injury. Treatment must continue until the injury is stabilized.

Hospitals are not required to provide follow-up care after the patient’s condition is stable. They are, however, prohibited from denying admission to victims of serious injuries simply because the victim has no insurance. Emergency care is often the first step in obtaining necessary treatment for accident injuries.

Medical Pay Coverage for Georgia Car Accident Victims Who Have No Health Insurance

If an accident victim has auto insurance that covers a car accident, the victim’s medical pay insurance will pay healthcare bills up to the policy limit. That payment is made regardless of fault.

The policy limit will often be less than the healthcare bills that result from a serious injury, but the accident victim’s own car insurance will at least give the victim some ability to pay healthcare bills. Working with a doctor’s billing department to have healthcare covered by medical pay coverage will allow an accident victim to pay for treatment until the coverage is exhausted.

Medicare and Medicaid for Georgia Car Accident Victims Who Have No Health Insurance

Medicare is available to individuals who have reached the age of 65 and who qualify for social security benefits, even if they have not applied for those benefits. Doctors bill Medicare for their services, just as they would bill a health insurance company.

Not all doctors accept Medicare, but many do. Accident victims who are eligible for Medicare can search the Physician Compare feature of Medicare.gov for local doctors who accept Medicare.

Medicaid is similar to Medicare, but eligibility is based on income rather than age. Georgia Medicaid helps low-income individuals who need treatment for accident-related disabilities. The Georgia Medicaid website provides information about eligibility, as well as physicians who accept Medicaid payments.

Veterans’ Care for Georgia Car Accident Victims Who Have No Health Insurance

Accident victims who served active duty in the military may be entitled to care from the Veterans’ Administration. While the VA reserves its best coverage for service-related disabilities, uninsured veterans may be entitled to VA care for injuries caused by car accidents.

When injuries are not service-related, a veteran’s household income may be considered in determining eligibility. However, a veteran may have more VA coverage available if the car accident aggravates a service-related injury. Veterans should contact a VA medical facility to determine whether they are eligible for health care.

Deferred Payment Agreements for Georgia Car Accident Victims Who Have No Health Insurance

When no other payment source is available, it may be possible to make an agreement with a physician who will wait to be paid from a personal injury settlement. Doctors will typically want to have the patient execute a lien against settlement proceeds.

Your lawyer can explain the risks and benefits of offering a lien in exchange for medical treatment. Your lawyer may also be able to recommend healthcare providers who have been willing to defer payment in the past.

Future Health Care for Georgia Car Accident Victims Who Have No Health Insurance

In some cases, accident victims must defer future health care that they are likely to need. For example, when a car accident causes a serious knee injury, an accident victim may be able to walk with a cane, but might need an artificial knee implant to become fully mobile.

An accident victim who needs a knee replacement will want it sooner rather than later, but a delay in obtaining surgery might not make the condition any worse. In those situations, a personal injury lawyer will demand the cost of future surgery as part of an injury settlement. When an insurance company refuses to pay, testimony from a surgeon about the need for and cost of future surgery will often persuade a jury to include funding for the surgery in its verdict.