There are two types of financial medical payment assistance provided by the federal and state governments. One is Medicare, which was enacted in 1965. Medicare is a federal agency that pays medical care for elderly (usually over the age of 65), the disabled and other limited classes of medical recipients.
In contrast, Medicaid is usually a state run, but federally sponsored, program that provides financial medical assistance to low income families or individuals.
Medicare and Medicaid usually pays for medical care in the event the injured person is eligible for Medicare or Medicaid assistance and is unable to pay their medical expenses. Medicaid and Medicare are secondary payers and will pay only after private insurance has been exhausted.
In a medical malpractice case, both Medicare and Medicaid have a statutory lien on any recovery from a jury award or a settlement with the defendant in which Medicare or Medicaid has provided payment for the injured person’s medical care.
In other words, Medicare and Medicaid will be paid back any money they have spent to provide medical care to the injured person from the injured person. They will demand under federal and state law this money to be paid back from the settlement or jury award in the medical malpractice case.
Usually the attorney representing the injured person has the legal obligation to reimburse Medicare and Medicaid for any monies they have paid for the care of the injured person. If the attorney does not pay this amount from the settlement or jury award, the attorney is personally liable for the lien.
In conclusion, the law states Medicare and Medicaid must be reimbursed for any money they have provided for the care of an injured person in a medical malpractice case.