Yes, a lawsuit is well worthwhile if you’re on Medicaid and/or Medicare!
If you’re on Medicaid and/or Medicare, there may be a lien against your case. But the lien is only for money paid for the medical treatment of the injury caused by your accident.
The lien is almost always much less than the amount billed because it is paid at Medicaid rates and can be reduced even further. So far, our clients’ Medicaid and Medicare liens were only a fraction of the amount we obtained for them. In some cases, the liens were reduced to $0.
Most accident lawyers just pay the liens in full while we use a service that reviews the billing to eliminate all on related medical charges and has lawyers who negotiate the liens.
Since the lien is usually very small as compared to your personal injury settlement, it is well worthwhile to pursue a claim for injuries if you have Medicaid and/or Medicare.
A different question is, how to settle your injury case for $500,000 when you’re on Medicaid? Medicaid doesn’t allow you to have more than $14,850 in nonexempt assets in 2017.
If you settle your accident case for more than Medicaid allows you to have, there are three options allowing you to receive the money.
One option, for people under 65, is to have the money paid to a trust which will protect your settlement money without interrupting your Medicaid benefits.
Special Needs Trusts and Pooled Trusts are recognized by the government and allow you to receive your settlement money without disqualifying you for Medicaid.
With a Special Needs Trust, you can pay for almost anything you want directly from the trust. You can use your trust money to pay for clothing, restaurants, a TV, vacation, car (up to $30,000), etc.
You just can’t pay for any medical treatment which Medicaid would pay for but you can pay for dental treatment not covered by Medicaid and elective plastic surgery.
If you receive SSI, you cannot use your trust money to pay for housing.
A second option, if the settlement is large enough, is to get off Medicaid and purchase health insurance.
A third option is to spend the money in the month you receive it and lose your benefits for a month.
Medicare is not affected by your receiving settlement money unless you need Medicare to pay for future medical treatment for your injuries. If you do, proper planning will protect your Medicare benefits.