Although Independent Medical Examinations (IMEs) are rarely “independent,” if your insurance company has requested an IME, you are likely required to submit to the examination. However, in order to request the exam, your insurance carrier must first show that your mental or physical condition is salient to the medical benefits claim.
Your insurance carrier has a fundamental right to an IME. If you refuse to submit to or to attend a lawfully granted IME, you will deemed to have breached the insurance policy. Refusals could also serve to release the insurance carrier from all liability for further payments for medical services rendered.
(Do note, though, that failure to attend the IME is not necessarily an “unreasonable refusal” to attend. The insurance carrier has the burden of proving the failure to attend was unreasonable.)
You do not have to pay for the IME. The insurance company must pay for the Independent Medical Examination, and they must give you ample notice of any examination so you can make arrangements to attend.
The insurance company cannot make you travel unreasonable distances to attend the IME. They are required, unless no physician exists, to select an IME physician that is in the municipality where you are receiving treatment or in a location reasonably accessible to you (that is, within 10 miles from your residence).