What Happens if You Ignore a Medicare Lien?

Given the amount of content that we’ve create in regard to lien resolution, the question probably appears absurd. However, it may not be as far-fetched as you think. On a daily basis, your office is abuzz with client meetings, research for various cases, and preparation for litigation. It can be easy to miss certain details, especially when they deal with complicated matters such as Medicare liens. Additionally, your client may not make you aware that Medicare or a Medicare Secondary Payer (MSP) has paid for expenses related to their case. You could be ignoring a Medicare lien and not even realize it. However, the consequences for non-action when it comes to Medicare liens can be monumental.

Consequences for Attorneys

As we’ve mentioned throughout our content, you have a responsibility to protect Medicare’s interests. That means if your client was a Medicare beneficiary and he or she received a settlement, you must ensure that Medicare is reimbursed. If Medicare files a lien, you must make sure it’s paid, otherwise you may be subject to the following actions:

  • A lawsuit can be brought against you and/or your client for recovery of funds provided for medical care
  • The case can be submitted to the U.S. Department of Treasury for collection

In either case, your firm can potentially be forced to pay thousands of dollars to Medicare or an MSP. If your client received a settlement, Medicare can cease the majority of it, which brings up an additional issue. If you fail to make your client aware of the obligation to protect Medicare’s interests and they lose a large portion of their settlement, you could be sued by your client. What seemed like a simple personal injury case can quickly become a costly one for your firm.

How to Deal with Medicare Liens

It’s best to be vigilant when it comes to Medicare liens. Communicate with clients about their medical bills. Make sure that you have clear understanding about how those bills are being paid and if Medicare or an MSP is involved. Then contact Medicare or the insurance company to find out if there are in liens in place.

There is great deal of work involved in this process. That’s why working with a firm that specializes in Medicare lien resolution can be beneficial, both from a time and financial standpoint.

For more information or to schedule a consultation, please submit our contact request form.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

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