Question: I have a personal injury case. The insurance company wants to pay me, but they insist on putting the doctor’s name on the check. Can they do that?
Robert’s Answer: There are many reasons why an insurance company will want to make a check payable to you as well as the hospital or doctor. It depends on the type of insurance and the type of provider.
If you are making a claim for Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits, then the insurance company can put the doctor’s name on the check (and can even pay the doctor directly) if the doctor has an “assignment of benefits” on file with the insurance company. A hospital lien is another way for a hospital to protect themselves when any insurance benefits are paid, not just for PIP but for any other insurance proceeds.
Other circumstances include where a health insurance company, Medicare or Medicaid may have a right of subrogation or reimbursement. If they send notice to the insurance company of their rights, then an insurance company may feel compelled to include them as a payee of any checks.
Just keep in mind that insurance companies get paranoid when other entities assert any rights of reimbursement. But just because a a provider or other claimant is asserting a right to the insurance proceeds does not mean the case is over. Most of the time, those claims may be negotiated. The best way to prevent yourself from getting stuck in this predicament is to have an high rated personal injury attorney properly manage the case from the very beginning.