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Two Medical Policies?

Michigan Personal Health Plan or PIP PlanMost of us have a health insurance policy such as Blue Cross to pay for our medical costs, and if we have an auto policy we have Personal Injury Protection (PIP) to pay for our auto accident medical costs.

If we have a Qualified Health Plan (QHP), the State of Michigan allows us to use our health insurance to cover auto accident medical costs by opting out of PIP.  So why doesn’t everyone do this?  Although there are plenty of similarities, health plans don’t pay for auto accident medical costs as well as PIP does.

There are costs incurred while recovering from a serious auto accident or living with the long-term impact of auto accident injuries that can really add up.  Before opting out of PIP, we recommend finding out how your health insurance plan covers:  skilled nursing facility costs, long-term/custodial care, residential treatment programs, attendant care (this can be VERY costly over time), transportation services, replacement services, outpatient therapies (physical, speech, etc.), massage therapy, needed home and vehicle modifications, and durable medical equipment.  PIP covers all of these until (1) you die or no longer need them; (2) you run out of PIP benefits because you chose limited PIP instead of Unlimited PIP.  Also, your health insurance plan has limits, co-pays, and deductibles that PIP doesn’t have.  Finally, if you are so badly injured in an auto accident and can no longer afford your health insurance, will some of the coverage stop?  PIP keeps paying even if your auto policy cancels.

There’s one aspect to PIP that’s nice but not well understood.  It has to do with “resident relatives.”  PIP automatically covers your resident relatives.  However, when a family member is no longer living with you, they are no longer considered a resident relative and their PIP coverage ends.  At this point they need to have their own auto policy protecting them.

If you file a PIP claim for a family member, and the insurance company finds out your family member is no longer living with you, your PIP claim could be denied and you’ll be left with a health insurance plan to cover auto accident medical costs – because health insurance plans typically don’t have a resident relative limitation – but this could cost you a LOT of money out of pocket.

If you have questions about how your health insurance compares to PIP, contact your health insurance agent and your auto insurance agent for a good conversation about how this all works!

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