A blog by a retired Colorado attorney on legal news, views and tips on Colorado Workers Compensation and Social Security Disability. Written from the point of view of the injured or disabled worker.
Saturday, October 31, 2009
H.R. 2641 May Help with WCMSA Problems
I have previously addressed WCMSA's or workers compensation medicare set asides. Essentially in this area there are very complex and bureaucratically driven rules. Medicare simply requires that some settlements in workers compensation cases be approved by them and set aside funds for use in treatment so that Medicare does not feel it is having to cover your workers compensation treatment. Now those cases where the injured worker returns to work appear not to be a problem but when someone is on medicare or could be soon on it sometimes they are requiring approval of a set aside amount. That means any such settlement must include Medicare (the agency is CMS or the Centers for Medicare Services) in its resolution of the case.
The problems that have come from this are significant. It delays a settlement by several months. The claimant and insurer may agree on everything but still must hold their breath that Medicare approves the deal. I attended a lunch yesterday where one attorney said he was stumped as Medicare was requiring more then the entire settlement be set aside to protect them. Yet the case was totally disputed on whether it arose from work activities. In other words the claimant could go to hearing and lose it all. Then he would go on Medicare and they'd have to pay 100% of the medical expenses. Still they were rejecting the compromise no matter how reasonable it was done. So a reasonable settlement could be shot down. But then do the parties have any recourse? Both sides want to settle and have negotiated a fair approach yet they are dead in the water forcing litigation which will hurt one side or the other. So in this area claimants and respondents are really on the same side. They seem to have no recourse if some bureaucrat decides without a hearing that the compromised amount is not the full amount needed to protect Medicare's interests. Sounds like a denial of due process doesn't it? Yet this is happening.
H.R. 2641 is a bill introduced in Congress to smooth out some of the problems. You can read about it here and here and here. You can follow its progress here. It takes all of us to try move this bill forward so consider doing something more then just reading about it. Support it and follow its progress. It does seem buried in all the major political things going on right now but when the disabled, the insurers and the attorneys are on the same side you have to say the Medicare policy should be made more reasonable and less bureaucratic. H.R 2641 seems like a step in the right direction if it can move forward.
"...this is the cause of my life, new hope that we will break the old gridlock and guarantee that every American -- north, south, east, west, young, old -- will have decent, quality health care as a fundamental right and not a privilege." Ted Kennedy Aug 26, 2008 (Update: June 28, 2012 the US Supreme Court upholds Obamacare)
Do We Pass the Test?
"It was once said that the moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the aged; and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped."
I've been living in beautiful Colorado and practicing law for over 35 years. It's been a great place to raise a family. Originally from New York I settled here, married here and raised two daughters, Jenny and Mary. I practiced near downtown Colorado Springs but now consider myself "retired" so I am not taking any more legal matters, clients or cases but I appreciate being able to help as many clients as I could for so many years. Now I especially enjoy my retirement time with family including 4 special ones...a grandson, Max, twin granddaughters, Penny and Cici and last but not least grandson Eliot. You can contact me at my email address which is email@example.com.
In the past we offered free consultations in cases but we are not taking any more legal matters or cases as retirement calls. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We've been protecting injured workers for many years and truly went the distance for many people. We made a difference for most of them and stood up for right not might. If you need an attorney I suggest you find someone where you live who offers free consultations. Also I urge you to discuss your case with an attorney if at all possible. This field is technical and complex. I would even call it tricky so seek advice from an attorney. If that is not possible call the Colorado Division of Workers Compensation customer service section for helpful information.
The information in this blog is intended to represent my personal views and opinions. It is not intended to be specific or personal legal advice which should only be obtained by a consultation with an experienced attorney. All this blog provides is general information I consider important to me. It may be of interest to others but for any advice or advisory statements consult with an attorney not a blog.
Special Personal News on Cici, our grandaughter (September 2011)
Nearly 3 years ago our grandaughter Cici had a serious medical problem. Her survival was at risk and she was deprived of oxygen because of a tragic choking/swallowing problem. It is known as an anoxic brain injury. The recovery has been challenging and slow but some progress has been made. We are thankful to be part of her recovery. I remain truly grateful for the prayers and touching support provided by so many people to my daughter and the family. We are actively committed to Cici's recovery and to her loved one's for as long as it takes. You can follow this difficult but amazing journey on my daughter's and husband Matt's Blog. Where there is life there is hope. We've had tough times but we have also seen courage and love in action for her and also for others. For examples look below.