The Oregon Court of Appeals recently decided a case involving a personal injury settlement that involved Medicare reimbursement claims.
In this case, the injured party entered into a settlement agreement with an insurance company for injuries arising from a motor vehicle collision. The parties agreed on a settlement amount, in addition to benefits provided by a personal injury protection carrier. However, after entering into the settlement agreement, the attorney representing the injured party discover that Medicare was seeking reimbursement out of settlement proceeds for medical benefits provided. Unfortunately, the amount Medicare was seeking for reimbursement far exceeded the amount of the settlement.
In an effort to salvage the situation, the Plaintiff's attorney argued that the settlement was not enforceable. However, the Court of Appeals found the settlement agreement was enforceable. The court applied the "objective" rule to determine whether not there was a meeting of the minds that would render the contract enforceable. The court found that one party's subjective belief that the settlement was not reasonable due to the Medicare lien was not sufficient to declare the contract null and void.
This case illustrates the importance of knowing whether Medicare is asserting a claim for reimbursement out of settlement proceeds. Under the federal statutes, Medicare is allowed to seek reimbursement for the value of benefits it provided if the Medicare recipient has a claim against another party for negligence. Medicare has powerful tools they can employ to obtain reimbursement for medical expenses it provided.
If you have a personal injury claim in Oregon or Washington, and Medicare's involved, call us at 503-325-8600 with your questions. We have handled several cases for Medicare recipients, successfully resolving claims for Medicare reimbursement.