One portion of dealing with any personal injury claim, whether it is a wrongful death claim or a claim for bodily injury, is dealing with subrogation claims from medical providers, as a personal injury lawyer Little Rock, AR trusts can explain..

In the U.S. Supreme Court case of Arkansas Department of Health and Human Services v. Ahlborn, 547 U.S. 268 (2006), the court dealt with the right of Medicaid in a subrogation claim.  The court held that Medicaid must reduce its claim on personal injury or wrongful death recovery by the percentage that the Plaintiff reduced its claim in accepting a settlement.

Benefit of Ahlborn: Wrongful Death Lawyer Little Rock, AR

What does the Ahlborn holding mean?  It ultimately allows for the Plaintiff in a personal injury or wrongful death claim to keep more of the settlement, giving less of it back to Medicaid/the government.  The subrogation claim made by Medicaid to recover its costs provided to the Plaintiff must be reduced if the Plaintiff had to reduce its own recovery in settlement.

Whether Medicaid has historically recognized Ahlborn is a different matter.  In a practical sense, having dealt with Medicaid subrogation claims, Medicaid will claim not to recognize the case but will negotiate a reduced recovery on the merits of the case (same thing as Ahlborn, basically).  This has generally been very helpful to assist settlement in large or risky claims.

Death of Ahlborn – Wrongful Death Lawyer Little Rock, AR

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 statutorily modifies Medicaid subrogation and allows for Medicaid to recoup all of the money it expended on a Plaintiff rather than the reduced formula allowed by Ahlborn.  However, the effective date of the Act was extended to October 1, 2016 and then extended again until October 1, 2017.  As a wrongful death lawyer Little Rock, AR respects, Steve Harrelson says that this implementation will greatly affect whether lawyers accept cases with Medicaid subrogation in the future. “It creates a ‘super lien’ in favor of Medicaid,” says Harrelson, “and it greatly affects our ability to negotiate a subrogation claim by Medicaid in order to resolve case amicably without court intervention.”

This means that negotiating Medicare and Medicaid liens will become increasingly difficult, if not impossible, as time progresses.  For these reasons, it is imperative to hire a veteran litigator and experienced trial lawyer who has been involved in wrongful death cases for years.  

Thanks to Steve Harrelson and our friends and co-contributors from Harrelson Law Firm, P.A. for their added insight into Medicare and Medicaid subrogation.