Summary of Case
On May 9th, 2017, Jesse Thomas was involved in an automobile accident in Florida when he was struck by a Freightliner truck while riding a motor scooter. Immediately after the accident, he was transported by air ambulance to a local hospital for multiple serious injuries including a spine fracture with a spinal cord injury, multiple rib fractures, neurogenic shock due to traumatic injury, traumatic hemorrhagic shock, displaced fracture of the left tibial spine, closed fracture dislocation of left sacroiliac joint, acute respiratory insufficiency, leukocytosis, acute tubular necrosis, acute blood loss anemia, acute respiratory acidosis, hyperglycemia, hemothorax, lacerations, open fracture of the lower leg, head injury, respiratory failure, cardiac arrest and shock. Mr. Thomas was hospitalized for 63 days from May 9th, 2017 through July 11th, 2017 during which time he underwent multiple surgical procedures including spinal surgery and a left above-knee amputation. As a result of the accident, Mr. Thomas was rendered a paraplegic. Due to the injuries he suffered, he requires 24/7 care and assistance with all of his activities of daily living.
Issues Presented to Synergy
- Resolution of $600k+ in liens
- Medicare eligibility preservation
- Medicaid eligibility preservation
- Protection of the seven-figure financial recovery
How did Synergy help?
Synergy handled five liens and obtained significant reductions and/or waiver by using specialized arguments and disputing claims. Our Medicare team handled a Medicare asserted interest of $144,976. It was reduced to a final demand of $0. Our ERISA/private lien resolution group handled four Medicaid liens.
- FFLLTC asserted a lien of $65,855 and we reduced to $2,563.54.
- Wellcare asserted a lien of $115,906 and we reduced to $17,885
- FLMMA asserted a lien of $103,829 and we reduced to $16,656.57.
- Magellan asserted a lien of $133,621 and we reduced to $200.72
Total liens handled by Synergy equaled $564,187. After Synergy’s involvement, total reimbursement to liens equals $37,304.
A very substantial 93% total reduction that stays with Mr. Thomas for his future!
A Florida Conduent Medicaid lien was also reduced by 80% from $121,870.81 down to $24,374.16.
Mr. Thomas was a Medicare beneficiary at the time of settlement which implicated the Medicare Secondary Payer Act and future care (Medicare Set Asides). Synergy prepared a liability MSA allocation in this case. The MSA recommendation for future Medicare covered services related to the injury totaled $665,761.37.
A reduction analysis was also prepared to address the compromised nature of the settlement. The analysis looked to the ratio between the full case value and the client’s net recovery. Synergy’s reduction analysis resulted in a recommendation that 11.8% of the MSA or $78,559.84, be funded from the net settlement. This allowed Mr. Thomas to retain a greater portion of his settlement funds while simultaneously considering Medicare’s interests.
Since this case involved a seven-figure net settlement and a catastrophically injured client, Synergy was asked to assist with settlement planning to protect the financial recovery to make sure it lasted the rest of his life. The plan involved funding two different trusts created to preserve government benefit eligibility. Structured settlements were set up to fund the Medicare Set Aside and Special Needs Trust. Our case management team coordinated with the Synergy settlement planner working on the matter and counsel on the amount for the structure that would pay into the trust and the duration of the payments (plan design). Synergy quoted, shopped the final plan, locked in the rate, verified the trust for payments including beneficiary and commutation (in the event of premature death), and coordinated/reviewed settlement documents working with the defense. With a daily rate, we were able to improve the annual payment paying into the trust for the selected premium.
To protect the client’s government benefit eligibility, two trusts were set up both with the Settlement Solutions National Pooled Trust. One was a special needs trust to preserve Medicaid and one was a Medicare Set Aside/special needs trust to keep Medicare eligibility in place. Settlement Solutions National Pooled Trust administers these two trust sub-accounts for Mr. Thomas to protect his eligibility for public benefits and preserve money for his future care. He has a sub-account with our pooled special needs trust, which can be used on a wide range of expenses for his care and to supplement his benefits. When the trusts were established, Mr. Thomas was in a skilled nursing facility, but has since transitioned to a home which was purchased using the funds in his special needs trust. He also used funds in his trust to purchase a handicap-accessible vehicle and hire caregivers. He also has a sub-account in our pooled Medicare-Set Aside special needs trust, which is used for injury-related, Medicare-covered care, to comply with Medicare Secondary Payor act and protect his future Medicare eligibility.
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