Question: “I am the executor of estate on behalf of my mother who was a Medicare beneficiary. This is a wrongful death case, so does Medicare have a lien in this situation?” – Florida Resident
Answer: According to the Medicare Secondary Payer Manual (Chapter 126.96.36.199.1), Medicare’s right to recover against a wrongful death claim depends on two things, 1. The beneficiary’s state of residence, and if the state law allows for the recovery of medical expenses in a wrongful death claim, and 2. If the state’s law allows for recovery of medical claims, the amount Medicare is entitled to recover against may vary (full recovery in some states, limited recovery in others). So basically, depending on where the beneficiary lived, there may or may not be an obligation to Medicare. Some states do not allow for the recovery of medical payments, so in those states Medicare cannot assert a claim against the deceased beneficiary or survivors.
I assume that you are in Florida, so I reviewed the Florida Wrongful Death Act (FL §768.14 – 768.26) in this state. In §768.21(6)(b) it states that medical expenses that have been charged to the estate are recoverable, and § 768.21(7) states, “All awards for the decedents estate are subject to claims of creditors who have complied with the requirements of probate law concerning claims”. Therefore, in Florida, Medicare does have a right to recover their claim against the estate of the beneficiary in a wrongful death case. My suggestion is that you discuss this matter with a probate attorney for further clarification on how to proceed in this case. Be advised that this is only a general response to your question, and should not be viewed as specific legal advice, as I am not an attorney. I hope this is helpful to you in your research. Please contact us at Lien Settlement Solutions have any more questions.
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