The bottom line: starting October 1, 2010 insurers will be required to gather certain information about claimants asserting personal injury and wrongful death claims and share that information with Medicare. More importantly, there is no rule going into effect that requires parties who settle liability claims to calculate a “set aside” amount that the injured claimant must spend on injury-related care before Medicare picks up the tab again.
Here is the Garretson Firm’s recommendations for claimant’s counsel:
Medicare’s role in settlements is undeniably evolving. As most claimants’ attorneys already understand, formal procedures must be implemented in their practice, and they cannot wait to receive a notice of a potential claim from CMS before taking action. The agency is not required to give notice, so lawyers must proactively identify, verify, and satisfy Medicare’s interests before distributing any settlement proceeds.
For those practitioners who have not yet created solid internal protocols, this new law places greater importance on making sure that an appropriate Medicare verification and resolution strategy is fully integrated into their practice. The tenets to such a successful strategy would include protocols for getting started early, enhanced client intake information, client education modules and, for complex cases, perhaps changes in retainer agreements that allow the attorney to seek outside assistance to handle lien verification and resolution.