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Do I Need PIP If I Already Have Health Insurance?

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Matt [0:12]: I’m Seattle Personal Injury attorney Matt Dubin last week I blogged about personal injury protection, or PIP coverage. PIP is a component of your auto insurance coverage which you can purchase which pays for all reasonable necessary accident related medical bills for injuries sustained in a car accident regardless of whose fault the accident was. Now some people have suggested that if you have good health insurance, you don’t need to pay for PIP coverage with your auto insurance, and I’m here today to tell you that simply is not true.

[0:48]: Let me give you a few reasons why you need PIP coverage, even if you have very good health insurance. The first reason is no out-of-picket expenses. With most health insurances, you have copays and deductibles which could be pretty significant expenses – especially when you’re possibly missing work from injuries you sustained in the accident. With PIP coverage, there is no out-of-pocket expenses, as long as the treatment is reasonable, necessary and accident related, it’s covered a hundred percent. Another advantage of your PIP coverage over your health insurance is there are no network restrictions. More and more these days with health insurance policies you are limited to doctors within a participating network. Well with PIP coverage you can see whatever specialists you need to, even if they’re not in your health insurance network, which leads me to the third benefit: no referral requirement. Again with most health insurances these days, you need a referral to see any kind of specialists at all. But you probably already know what kind of specialists you need to see, and with PIP coverage as long as it really is reasonable and necessary, your coverage will pay for that – whether you have a referral or not. Finally, I think the most important benefit of PIP coverage, uh, comes to how much money of your settlement you get to keep. You see under Washington Law, when you make a recovery from the person who caused the accident or from their insurance, that includes all of your medical bills, whether they’ve been paid or not. And out of that settlement you need to pay back your health insurance or your PIP coverage, or whoever else paid the bills. Now Washington Law says, if the insurance benefits from the attorneys work, that they should share in the cost of the attorney. Ultimately, that reduces the amount of the attorney fee you need to pay out of your recovery. But these days more and more health insurances policies are organized under federal law, which exempts them from the state law requirements, which means they can’t be forced to share in the costs of hiring an attorney, which means ultimately less money for you. Now in the case with thirty thousand dollars of medical bills, which believe me is all too common, this could result in an additional ten thousand dollars in your pocket just from having the PIP coverage instead of health insurance.

[3:08]: Again, no out-of-pocket expenses, no network restrictions, no referral requirement, and you get to keep more of the money that you recover from the person who caused the accident. To me, it’s a no brainer, no matter what kind of health insurance you have, check your auto insurance right now. Call up your agent or your insurance company, and make sure you got personal injury protection or PIP coverage. And if you don’t, get it. It only costs a little bit more each month, and you’ll be glad you did if you ever are injured in an accident. And as always, if you have any questions regarding auto insurance coverage, personal injury claims, or anything else, please free to give us a call. We’d love to hear from you.

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