As a Los Angeles accident lawyer, some of my clients are Medicare beneficiaries.
Whenever my office signs up a new client who receives Medicare benefits, this question usually comes up.
I’ve discussed health insurance reimbursement issues in the past on this blog. Medicare cases are a little different.
Federal law grants Medicare a lien on any recovery sought by an accident victim. That means that if you’re in an accident and seek medical treatment for your injuries, Medicare is entitled to reimbursement if it pays for your treatment.
Will you have to pay back Medicare the full amount it paid on your behalf? This is something to be discussed with your attorney, as Medicare’s reimbursement rights are different in every case.
It’s crucial for your attorney to get the Medicare ball rolling early on in a case. Your attorney should do this by reporting the accident and relevant facts to Medicare as soon as possible.
As the case progresses, Medicare will send “Conditional Payment” letters to the Medicare beneficiary and his or her attorney.
Most auto or property insurance companies will not issue settlement payments to an accident victim until he or she can prove Medicare will not come after the insurance company. This is typically accomplished with a “Final Lien” letter provided by Medicare’s Coordination of Benefits and Recovery Center, or COBR.
Dealing with Medicare can take longer than expected. Having a case settled, only to wait for Medicare’s final approval can cause immense frustration. Make sure you have an attorney familiar with handling Medicare issues in your Los Angeles auto accident or slip-and-fall case.
For questions about your Los Angeles accident case or other issues involving Medicare reimbursement, the Rabbi Lawyer is ready to assist, 24/6!