Can medicare or medicaid take wrongful death settlement money?

by Anonymous

My mother passed away in 2006 and I believe she may have debt with either Medicare or Medicaid. We have been dealing with lawsuit proceedings for nearly 8 years and a settlement was finally reached. The attorney's mentioned that her existing medical bills will have to be deducted from the total amount. So, my question(s) are thus:

- Does Medicare or Medicaid have any grounds for demanding money from the settlement funds? It is my understanding that they do not have a right to any of the settlement funds unless the settlement explicitly included recovery for medical expenses. The information I have researched regarding this scenario is sparse. I hope you can answer this question ASAP. I would like to know before either Medicare or Medicaid takes what they think they are owed and provide me with some useful information.

- How can I determine the amount of the outstanding medial expenses with out bringing awareness to either of these systems?

I appreciate your time and any information you can provide. Thanks!


Comments for Can medicare or medicaid take wrongful death settlement money?

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Aug 28, 2015
medicare policy
by: Anonymous

Can medicare take my mother's home when she passes if she has outstanding medical bills?

Reply from

Medicare explains on its website: "In most cases, after a person who gets Medicaid nursing home benefits passes away, the state must try to get whatever benefits it paid for that person back from their estate.

However, they can't recover on a lien against the person's home if it's the residence of the person's spouse, brother or sister (who has an equity interest and was residing in the home at least one year prior to the nursing home admission), or a blind or disabled child or a child under the age of 21 in the family."

Nov 05, 2012
Can medicare or medicaid take wrongful death settlement money?

So sorry about the death of your mother.

As to your question, I assume that Medicare and Medicaid both have liens on your case. If they do, then they are entitled to have those liens paid off. The amount of the liens would be deducted from the total amount of the settlement.

Your attorney should be able to tell you what the amounts of the liens are, which I assume would represent the total amount of the medical expenses.

I want to make clear however that I am not an elder law attorney nor am I an expert on Medicaid and Medicare and wrongful death lawsuits. Therefore, to get an absolutely definitive answer to your questions, I advise that you consult with the attorneys who represented you in your lawsuit or schedule an appointment with an elder law attorney in your area.

One other thing, the attorneys in your lawsuit may be able to negotiate a reduction in the lien amounts. So, you may want to discuss this possibility with them. A reduction would mean more money in your pocket.

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