Many times after a loved one is injures or dies as a result of nursing home neglect or negligence, our South Florida nursing home injury lawyers are asked how to get out of hospital medical bills. We have heard of instances wherein nursing home administrators have given families misleading or false information about recovering compensation for these bills.
Once, a nursing home administrator told the family of a patient who died of neglect that it would be a “waste of time” to file a lawsuit against them for medical bills because anything they won would go back to Medicaid and/ or Medicare (or whatever health insurer covered the patient prior to death). This is not so, though it’s impossible to say whether this advice was intentionally misleading or the result of a misunderstanding. When you ask “How to get out of hospital medical bills,” realize that some of those bills have already been covered by the health care insurer. Usually, nursing home patients are covered by Medicaid, a health care plan for people in poverty, as opposed to Medicare, a federal health insurance program for older Americans that does not provide coverage for long-term care, only short stints between a hospital stay and returning home.
What this administrator was likely referring to is something called “subrogation.” This is a type of insurance principle, spelled out specifically with regard to Medicaid in F.S. 409.910, that bars plaintiffs (those seeking compensation) from “double-dipping,” or collecting from two different payers for a single injury. So if Medicaid foots most of the bill for your loved one’s nursing home injuries, you sue the nursing home for negligence that caused those injuries, Medicaid’s contribution to those medical bills will need to be repaid from whatever amount you’ve been awarded for medical bills as part of the settlement or verdict. And of course, there may be some medical expenses you still paid out-of-pocket. Continue reading →