All too often, I have to tell a client, "yes, your case has settled, but don’t expect the money for several months." Why? Because of Medicare.
Medicare has a subrogation interest, meaning that clients have to use settlement funds to reimburse Medicare for the payments (or a portion of the payments) that Medicare made for the clients’ medical care. That’s not that unusual; most insurance companies have similar provisions. But Medicare is especially difficult to deal with. They are underfunded and understaffed, and it can literally take months (and sometimes even years) to get them to tell us how much the client owes. Then we have to spend more time going over the claim to make sure the amount Medicare requests only includes care related to the wreck or accident, and then we have to spend more time negotiating a final payment amount. And while you would think that Medicare and the federal government would want to rush to take our payments, that’s not the case.
So if you are a potential client and have Medicare, please understand that we’ll work hard to get your case resolved (whether through settlement or trial), but that won’t be the end of the waiting game.
And for the record, this entire post has been done while I was on hold with Medicare.