In an individual case, the entire process can take as long as six months. The first task is to establish a case with Medicare’s recovery department and request a list of all expenses Medicare paid on your behalf. This listing will help determine which charges are related to your injury. When the process is started early in the litigation (before settlement), Medicare’s claim can be satisfied within 45 days after the date of settlement.
So Why Does it Take So Long?
There are several reasons it takes a long time to resolve Medicare liens. First, the private company that handles the lien recovery for Medicare must go out and find all the medical expenses that have been paid on your behalf by the Part A and Part B medical service providers. Complicating matters, in certain situations your medical providers have up to one year to bill Medicare after providing medical services to you. After all the expenses have been billed to Medicare, someone must review them. This review will determine whether the expenses for which Medicare is seeking repayment are all linked to the specific injury in your litigation, rather than an expense which has nothing to do with the injury at issue. The reviewer will make sure that these expenses: a) occurred sometime between your date of injury and date of settlement and b) that they are truly related to the injury for which you have settled your case. All this means that it can take a great deal of time to get a lien resolved with Medicare.
What Can I Do to Speed Up the Process?
Give your attorney all of the information he/she asks for, in order to manage the resolution process. Do not contact Medicare directly as this will lead to significant delays.