Medicare liens are conditional payment reimbursement claims that Medicare issues to medical providers. Medicare acknowledges these liens too slowly, which can delay the winding up of the case. The MSP program can also delay the settlement process. It is critical that the lien issue be addressed as part of the settlement discussions.
Medicare and Medical Liens in Personal Injury Cases
The lien amount may have increased since the last Conditional Payment Letter. In such cases, it is important to require counsel to hold a portion of the settlement proceeds to avoid liability. This strategy can protect the parties from the risk of liability, and allow the parties to distribute the majority of the settlement proceeds.
In one recent case, a Maryland malpractice law firm was fined $250k after failing to pay off a Problems with Medicare Liens. The client was a Medicare beneficiary who had incurred debts in the past. The malpractice law firm refused to pay off the lien, and the client later received an administrative ruling that rendered the debt final.
The next problem with Medicare liens arises during the reporting and reimbursement process. When Medicare does not receive payment, it can sue the entity making the payment on the claim, the claimant, or claimant’s counsel. In some cases, Medicare can even sue the “Responsible Reporting Entity” or fine it. This can be a very frustrating process, so it’s crucial to be prepared and organized in case of a lien.