When an individual is injured in an automobile accident, the medical bills that result from the ensuing medical treatment are often paid by a variety of sources. Before settling the injury claim, consideration must first be given to the existence of any Medicaid liens.

Medicaid is a health care program that assists low-income families or individuals in paying for long-term medical and custodial care costs. Medicaid is a joint program, funded primarily by the federal government and run at the state level, where coverage may vary.

When an individual is injured in an accident, his or her medical bills may be paid by Medicaid while liability is being determined. Medicaid requires the injured party who is utilizing the Medicaid benefits to assign to the state any right to payment of medical care from a third party. The effect of this assignment is that Medicaid is required to be repaid from the proceeds of a personal injury settlement. A lien is placed in this case against the injured party’s recovery from the individual who caused the accident.

When determining the proper amount to be repaid, one must consider the following: 1) what Medicaid expenses are related to the injury sustained in the accident; and 2) which portion of the personal injury settlement represents payment for medical expenses. The Medicaid lien affects only Medicaid expenses related to the injury and only to that portion of the settlement pertaining to payment of medical expenses.

For more information regarding personal injury law, please contact an experienced attorney at the law firm of Paulson & Paulson, PLC.