What can a client say to make a Maryland accident lawyer’s shoulders’ droop? Lots of things, of course. One of those things is certainly “I have Medicare.”
A Medicare lien is more than a lien, actually. It is a superlien. That word sounds made up, but that is exactly what a Medicare lien is. More than just a right of subrogation, the superlien allows Medicare to seek reimbursement directly from the provider. (Medicare rarely choses that route.)
A superlien is also paramount in another way that is important to accident lawyers: Medicare can get the money if it is stiffed from the accident lawyer personally. So lawyers who ignore Medicare liens literally do so at their own peril. Moreover, there is a clear obligation to notify Medicare if they don’t know of the potential recovery from a third party.
Will Medicare reduce medical liens? In many cases, they will. Accident lawyers often argue that the medical bills and treatment are not causally related to the accident. (Which furthers the trial lawyer “talking outside of both sides of her mouth” theory because, most likely, the lawyer argued the very opposite in the case to the insurance company.) You can also get reductions for attorneys’ fees and pro rata expenses incurred.
Medicare can be reasonable with reducing liens but, unlike other lien holders, they require often require settlement on the case before they will discuss reducing the lien which adds more time to the resolution of the case.
One new innovation in dealing with Medicare liens is that you can get a lot of information about your client’s Medicare lien online. You have to register for each individual case, but you can find out the amount and status of the lien.