NH Med Pay Law – Every year, New Hampshire’s legislature processes thousands of bills that affect the laws that we’re expected to live by. Some are sweeping reforms to some part of our daily lives, and some change a but few words in a law that might not affect a person unless some rare event occurs in that person’s life. Recently, a bill passed that fits the latter—lawmakers made a small tweak to the language of a bill that applies only to people who are involved in a motor vehicle crash and are insured at the time. At this point, all this bill needs to become law is the governor’s signature.
What Was the Previous Law?
The law as it was before required that car insurance companies provide a minimum of $1000 of “medical payments” coverage to its customers. This is a policy that covers any medical bill related to injuries sustained in the crash regardless of who was at fault. The language was simple: “Any motor vehicle liability policy … shall provide medical payments coverage … for medical costs incurred as a result of injuries sustained in an accident….” The idea was that this would be a “no questions asked” type of coverage. You submit your bills, they pay you back until you hit your limit.
Two Big Changes
Change 1 – The new law makes two big changes with just a few words. First, instead of “provid[ing] … for medical costs incurred as a result of injuries sustained in an accident[,]” the insurance company must now only “provide … for reasonable medical costs incurred as a result of injuries sustained in an accident….” That means the insurance company gets to decide not only what costs are covered, but how much of those costs are reasonable. For example, you had an MRI that generated a $2,000 medical bill. The insurance company feels that’s too much to pay for that service, they can deem it unreasonable and pay what they feel is right.
Change 2 – The second change deals with what happens when the insurance company won’t foot the whole bill. It adds language to the previous law that reads: “the injured driver or passenger shall not be responsible for medical costs that have been determined by the motor vehicle liability insurer to not be reasonable.” That means you’re off the hook for the remainder of the bill. The doctor, on the other hand, has to eat that bill. It’s unclear how this will play out. You can imagine that doctors will be unhappy to hear that you’ve used your medical payments coverage if that means they’ll now have to fight over the “reasonableness” of the bill and perhaps lose some money.
This is only one example of the many changes to the laws affecting crash victims every year. Do yourself a favor and seek an experienced attorney who is on top of these changes. To get started, call us at Douglas, Leonard & Garvey, P.C., 1-800-240-1988 or fill out our online contact form.