Once your case is settled, you now have to pay off your medical bills. The first thing you need to take care of before you even receive your money is your personal injury lien. A personal injury lien is a court order to set aside a portion of your settlement to pay back money owed to a third party with involved interests. This usually consists of healthcare providers, insurance companies, and programs such as Medicaid or Medicare.
Paying Back The Lien
You won’t be able to receive your settlement money until you reimburse your health insurance companies for any medical treatments they paid for that were related to your personal injury case. Your lawyer will have to send them a check for their portion of the lien first.
If you had Medicare, they will send your attorney a statement of all the medical bills paid by them that are related to your personal injury case. Your attorney will review the statement with you, and once you agree, they will send Medicare a check for the statement amount when they disburse your settlement.
Paying Future Medical Bills
Often times there is a portion of your settlement set aside for future medical bills. That is, money you will potentially have to spend in the future to treat long-term injuries related to the personal injury accident. They will expect you to pay for these treatments out of your settlement money and not through Medicare or another health insurance or assistance program.
While it may be tempting to spend that money now, it is recommended that you set aside the money in a separate account. If any medical issues arise related the injury sustained from your personal injury accident, use that money to pay for treatment.
Do not use Medicare or any other health insurance to pay for these injuries. Remember to keep detailed records of your medical bills and payment histories. This way, if you are questioned about the use of health insurance for any qualifying injuries, you will have definite proof that you are not abusing the system. Insurance fraud is a serious issue, and an accusation you want to avoid altogether.
Communicating With Your Lawyer
If you have any questions or concerns regarding your personal injury lien or medical bills, be sure to talk to your attorney. You should always keep an open line of communication with your lawyer as they are your advocates in the claims process. There may be a few exceptions to the rules above, and your attorney will work with you on getting you the maximum amount possible while making sure the local and federal laws are properly followed. If you have more questions about a lien or your medical bills, go to this hyperlink.