Fort Lauderdale medical malpractice lawyer Lisa Levine has been helping people injured due to medical errors and negligence for over 20 years. She knows first-hand the devastating financial impact medical malpractice injuries can have on the victim and their family.
Some of the financial burden that results from medical negligence can be recovered through a malpractice lawsuit, but what happens if you’re covered by Medicare or Medicaid? Do these government programs have to be paid back out of your lawsuit settlement?
You Will Have to Reimburse the Government
Medicare is a federal program that provides health coverage to persons who are age 65 or older or have a severe disability, no matter what their income may be. Medicaid is a state and federal program that provides health coverage to people with incomes below a certain level. They will cover the costs medical care until the plaintiff collects their settlement.
If Medicare or Medicaid has paid a portion or all of your medical expenses, you should know that you will be expected to reimburse the government the costs of your treatment. Your attorney will work to reduce the lien amount (the amount you must repay Medicare/Medicaid) as much as possible. This negotiation is included in your attorney fees in most cases and is an important part of how an experienced malpractice attorney can help you.
How much the lien amount is reduced will depend on factors such as your recovery amount, attorney fees, damages and other factors. Your attorney will begin this process very quickly after taking your case so that it can be taken into account when fighting for a higher financial recovery on your behalf.
Your attorney will contact the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the federal agency within that administers the Medicare program and works in partnership with state governments to administer Medicaid. You will then receive a letter from Medicaid or Medicare containing a detailed list of the medical services you were provided, the costs of these services and information on applicable waiver and administrative appeal rights.
They will demand payment for any medical expenses starting from the date of malpractice to the date you collect your settlement. That amount is what your attorney will negotiate to reduce. Medicaid and Medicare will file a recovery claim – a lien on the settlement amount in your Florida medical malpractice case. This lien will be resolved after the attorney’s fees and expenses are paid, but before the settlement funds are released to the injured party.
You’ll have to Settle with the Government before You Receive Your Settlement
It’s important to work with an experienced malpractice attorney who will protect your rights and ensure you fully fulfill your obligations for Medicare or Medicaid reimbursement after a lawsuit.
If you wish to dispute an expense listed on the statement, say for medical expenses unrelated to your medical malpractice case, your lawyer will notify CMS and request they review the charges. If they determine your lawyer’s claim is correct, you will be sent a revised statement. Your lawyer will then send the Contractor a check for that amount when he or she does your settlement. If they rule against you, then you have the option of appealing the decision.
Don’t Pay More Medicare or Medicaid Reimbursement After A Lawsuit than You Have To
If you don’t have a Fort Lauderdale medical malpractice attorney experienced in dealing with Medicare or Medicaid reimbursement after a lawsuit, you may end up paying more than you should.
At the law offices of Lisa Levine, we know how to work with Medicare and Medicaid to ensure that these entities are properly reimbursed and our clients don’t have to pay back any more money than is owed.
When we settle a lawsuit for medical malpractice in Florida, our clients can rest assured that all necessary lien holders have been reimbursed the lowest possible amount.
If you’ve been injured due to the negligence of a doctor, nurse or other medical professional in Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton or surrounding South Florida communities, please contact our offices at 954-256-1820 to set up a free, confidential consultation with one of our medical negligence lawyers. We handle our malpractice cases on a contingency basis, which means our clients owe us nothing until we win their case.