If you are on Medicare and you are injured in an auto accident in Missouri, it is best to get the advice of an attorney before settling your case.
Medicare is a form of health insurance for people on Social Security Disability or retired individuals who choose to purchase benefits through the program. It is funded by the Social Security Administration through taxes paid to them. A premium is paid by the beneficiary for the insurance. Medicare is known as a "secondary payer." This means that if another entity or insurance coverage is responsible for paying the injured person's medical expenses, then Medicare pays after that entity pays. In automobile accident cases, this means that Medicare does not have to pay a beneficiary's bills until after the auto insurance has paid the bills. Unfortunately, automobile liability insurance doesn't pay an injured party's bills until that person settles their case with the auto liability carrier. This can be problematic for the injured Medicare recipient, since the doctors and hospitals don't want to wait months, or even years, to get paid. As a result, Medicare will go ahead and pay the bills while an injured person's case against an auto liability insurance carrier is still open, but they will require repayment when the case is resolved.
If you have purchased Medical Payments coverage on your vehicle in Missouri, it is adviseable to tell your medical providers to bill your own auto insurance first, and when that money runs out, then bill Medicare.
If you settle a case and you are on Medicare, there will be a delay between the time you reach your settlement agreement and the time you get a check. That is because the insurance company won't pay you until they know how much Medicare wants to be paid back out of your settlement. What's worse is that Medicare won't give you a final payback amount until you have settled the case and sent them all of the settlement paperwork. Then, it can take weeks, even months, to get a final payment demand from Medicare. But once you do, then the insurance company will be able to release the settlement checks--typically, one for Medicare for the amount of their payment demand, and one to you for the balance of the settlement.
It is not adviseable for Medicare recipients to settle their Missouri personal injury cases without at least consulting with an attorney. If you are a Medicare recipient and you have had an accident with injuries in Missouri, feel free to call us for a free consultation at 314-315-8111.