I'm waiting for a letter from Medicare that my attorney tells me he needs to release funds to me. He tells me that he doesn't know if I will receive it, he will receive it, or when either one of us will receive it so I thought I should seek advice from other lawyers in the meantime. I have been waiting since the end of October when I was told that this letter was needed. I was also told that I do not owe Medicare any money, but I don't know if owing them anything has anything to do with how long this is taking. I also don't understand why my lawyer can not contact anyone to ask them if the letter was even generated yet. Is recieving this kind of important document something that takes months, or years?
A Medicare Lien can be a factor in cases where the injured person received medical treatment that was paid by Medicare. The treatment has to be related to the injuries sustained in the accident. Medicare has the right to recover money paid out due to the negligence of another. Your attorney is obligated by both Federal law and the rules of professionalism to make sure the Medicare Lien is adequately dealt with and satisfied. This process can be difficult and very lengthy, especially if your attorney is disputing part of the lien, which is common. Medicare often includes services that were unrelated to the accident. For instance, if you visited a dermatologist during the period you were treating for a neck injury, the dermatology bill might be part of the lien, even though it was unrelated to the accident. Even if you didn't use Medicare benefits to pay for your injury-related treatment, the attorney still has Medicare hoops to jump through if you had Medicare. The process is so arduous that many attorneys hire other law firms to process the liens for them. Having to wait three months is not uncommon. That said, you should certainly feel like you are in the loop and understand what is going on in your case. Find out when your attorney sent out the initial request and what has been done since then. Good luck.
Even with a lawyer hounding them it can take many months to deal with Medicare liens. The liens attach to a case by statute where the injured person is Medicare eligible WHETHER OR NOT Medicare actually paid any directly accident related bills. The lien is there by statute and needs to be addressed. A big problem is that the federal government used to have regional offices that made it relatively efficient to resolve such issues. Now, there is only one for the entire nation, which makes it take more time.
For actual information on the process, use your favorite search engine and go to the MSPRC website. Their own website will explain what you are up against.
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