Hi. I’m John Medler, personal injury lawyer with The Medler Law Firm – Personal Injury & Accident Attorneys and today I’d like to talk to you a minute about Medicare and how it affects your personal injury settlement. So at the end of your case, let’s say that you’ve got a settlement, you’ve given your lawyer his percentage fee that he’s entitled to and now you’ve got your share. Everything’s great, right? Hold on.
Let’s say that you’re an elderly person and you have Medicare and Medicare has paid for some of the medical bills that you incurred in the case as a result of your accident. Unfortunately, when the case is settled, Medicare is going to take some of your share of the personal injury settlement. I know that’s terrible, but that’s the law. Unfortunately. In fact, your personal injury lawyer is required to tell Medicare that you have a personal injury lawsuit going.
We’re required to actually send Medicare a letter letting them know who we are, the fact that we represent you, and that you’ve got a personal injury case. Then Medicare will send back what’s called a conditional letter and that conditional letter will tell you how much Medicare is asserting for their lien. Unfortunately, Medicare often gets it wrong. Sometimes they put in medical bills that have nothing to do with your accident. So what do we do? Then we have to send Medicare another letter back saying that they got it wrong and then Medicare will come back with a final letter.
Unfortunately, this whole process takes forever and Medicare is super slow and there’s nothing we can do to hurry them along. So, unfortunately, that can, number one, cause some delay in you getting your settlement money, and number two, it can also reduce the amount that you can recover in the case. And Medicare cannot only take part of your settlement for passed bills that they paid, but they may also require you to set aside some money for future Medicare payments. So as bad as it is, that’s the law.