Congress Amends Law to Allow Medicaid to Seek Full Reimbursement From Personal Injury Settlements
Recently, Congress has amended the statutes that allow Medicaid to seek reimbursement of benefits it paid to personal injury victims out of the personal injury victims’ recovery. Section 202(b) of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 now allows Medicaid services to seek more of the injured victim’s recovery.
Prior to Congress’ action here, Medicaid was entitled to assert a lien and seek, from a personal injury recovery, the portion of the benefits Medicaid paid to the recipient that was attributable in the personal injury recovery. The Supreme Court in Arkansas Dept. of Health and Human Srvs. v. Ahlborn, 547 U.S. 268 (2006), had previously held that Medicaid could only seek reimbursement of the portion from the settlement which represented the medical expenses it paid. The Ahlborn Decision negatively affected the actual, net recovery for many personal injury victims. This new law only makes it worse. It appears on its face that Medicaid will be able to seek the full benefits it paid from a personal injury settlement regardless of whether the remaining portion of the settlement adequately compensates the victim for other damages like pain and suffering and lost wages.
Since the law is not yet in effect, it remains to be seen what challenges will be forthcoming. However, if you are a victim of a personal injury whether in a car accident, slip and fall or work injury, you should contact a qualified personal injury lawyer to steer you through the ever-changing process.