Why You Should Have Medical Payments Coverage (Med Pay Coverage)

Writing and talking about insurance can be boring and tedious, but saving money and making sure you have the right insurance isn’t. We have had many clients from Hyde Park, Morrisville, Stowe, Jeffersonville, and other Lamoille County towns, but we also represent Vermonters throughout Vermont as well as out of state people who are injured in crashes in Vermont. More often than not, they are not aware of medical payments coverage, which is not mandatory insurance. Liability and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is mandatory in Vermont and in my view medical payments coverage should be. For reasons that are not clear to me, some insurance agents don’t understand the benefits of medical payments insurance coverage and sometimes discourage its purchase, despite its widespread benefits and because it is incredibly cheap.

For example, it costs me $10 per year for coverage on my vehicles for medical payments coverage with a limit of $5,000. The cost of lunch would cover you for a year!

Medical payments coverage, or med pay as it’s typically called, pays for treatment of injuries you or your passengers suffer in a motor vehicle crash, no matter who caused the crash. Therefore, it is a no-fault type of insurance, even though Vermont is a liability state. It also pays for medical bills if you or a family member is injured by a motor vehicle while on foot, riding your bike or in someone else’s vehicle. It would even cover you if you were sitting on your porch and a car smashed into the porch, injuring you.

Med pay is worth having even if you have a health insurance policy. Typically, most health insurance plans have gaps in coverage, high deductibles or significant co-pays. There also may be limited coverage for such things as chiropractic treatment, massage therapy or acupuncture treatment, which many times med pay covers. I know I sound like an insurance company salesperson, but it is one of the first things I ask when I visit with clients. Med pay is an affordable addition to your motor vehicle insurance policy. To summarize, here is the coverage med pay may provides:

●Payment for injuries to you, your passengers or family members sustain in a motor vehicle crash, including medical, surgical, chiropractic, massage therapy and acupuncture care.
●Payment for treatment of injuries you or your family member sustain while riding in someone else’s motor vehicle or as a pedestrian or cyclist.
●Ambulance bills.
●X-rays and other diagnostic film expenses.
●Funeral costs following a fatal crash.
●Health insurance deductibles or co-pays.

Even if you have health insurance, you can use med pay coverage to pay health insurance deductibles or co-pays. Many times you can manage the coverage to maximize your coverage from your health insurance policy and your med pay policy.

In most states, including Vermont, med pay is optional. It is required in Maine and Pennsylvania. I am a member of the Vermont Association for Justice and we have asked the legislature to make medical payments coverage mandatory in Vermont because it is cheap and would benefit many Vermonters. So far, there has been pushback from the legislature because apparently they think it will increase premiums to the level that motor vehicle insurance will no longer be affordable. This is clearly not the case in Vermont. Choosing the right amount of med pay limits as well as any other insurance limits is always a challenge. Maximum amounts vary from insurance company to insurance company, but they’re typically in the $5000 to $10,000 range. While it is difficult to recommend the right amount of med pay, you should have at least $5,000 worth of coverage.

If you have any questions about the right kind of insurance you should have or about a motor vehicle crash, please call me for a free consultation.