Frolicking on the Medicare website

15 Mar

Large amounts of sarcasm should be assumed with that title, by the way. 

So, for the first time in a million years, I had to obtain information on a plaintiff’s Medicare lien status.   Just let me say that the website is about as helpful as a bikini in a snow storm.  (Actually, I guess a bikini top could double as ear warmers.)  It was also about as much fun as sticking your hand in a blender. 

We had sent the plaintiff discovery asking if Medicare had paid any claims, if so, how much, blah, blah, blah.  Instead of answering the questions, since they SHOULD know this since they have to inform Medicare of any liability or worker’s compensation claims, they sent me a signed Consent to Release form and basically said, “Have fun.”   Golly gee, thanks. 

My boss calls me up and asks if we sent them the Medicare discovery and if so, where is it.  Of course, it was in the notebook of discovery he had in front of him, and scanned in the computer.  As, dum-dum-dum, “Discovery!”   I’m a frickin’ genius, I tell you.  Then he asks me what we’re supposed to do with the release.  Good question.  I told him I was hoping he knew, and to my relief he laughed instead of sighing or scowling.  We must have had a good billing month in last month.

So I go upon my happy way thinking, “Tra-la-la, I should be able to hop on the Medicare website, find something dealing with liability claims or liens.”  Right?  Oh God, no.  That would have made too much sense.  I fall back on my old friend Google.  After looking at a website entitled something like “Medicare liens for Dummies”, which most assuredly meant me at that point, I learned nothing except plaintiffs have a lot of hoops to jump through now with Medicare liens. 

Finally I discover the MSPRC acronym and find out there’s a whole entity just for processing the claims dealing with liability insurance, no-fault insurance and worker’s compensation.  I was then introduced to the Medicare Secondary Payer Recovery Contractor.   Seriously?  You guys couldn’t have mentioned this on the Medicare website?  Google is my BFF.  Forever and ever. 

For some of you paralegals, I’m sure this is seriously old news.  You may be rolling your eyes and thinking, “Duh!”  I just hadn’t had the pleasure of dealing with it in so long.  And in case you are just as clueless, and feel as behind the times as I did today, the website is   Scroll to the bottom and there’s a section on Proof of Representation. 

Here’s the fun part:  If you click on the “Liability Insurance, No-Fault and Worker’s Compensation Recovery Process” link, it downloads a PDF page that says, “Refer to the Proof of Representation versus Consent to Release Power Point.”  Okay, again, really?  We have to download a one page PDF just to tell us to pull up a Power Point/PDF?   All I want is a frickin’ address to send the request for information!  This information isn’t so complicated that we need a bloody power point presentation!   

No wonder the government has no money.  Once again, life is pointlessly made more complicated.  I need a drink.


9 Responses to “Frolicking on the Medicare website”

  1. Amanda Hazel March 15, 2011 at 8:47 pm #

    Oh trust me you DON’T want me to get started on MSPRC. Tip Number 1: NEVER CALL THEM; you will be stuck on hold for at most an hour and then after you jump through all the hoops for them to verify who your client is, they can’t release any information to you over the phone. It all has to be done in writing.

    Let’s just say that I’ve been waiting since January 24 to get a lien amount from lovely MSPRC and here we are almost mid-March and I still don’t have a letter or anything in writing telling me the amount of the lien. Our case was settled in December 2010 and we can’t get settlement checks cut until we have this lien amount from MSPRC. So everyone (my attorney, the client and the insurance company) is stuck in a holding pattern until they decide to release the info. Every time I call to check on the status of when the info/letter will be sent and after waiting on hold for an hour or longer, I’m told it will be another 10 days.

    Man oh man, I think I need a drink now….

    • Momalegal March 16, 2011 at 1:53 pm #

      Good Lord, that’s such a pain in the ass. I bet the clients are fuming. Come have a drink with me! 🙂

  2. Grumpy Humbug March 16, 2011 at 8:25 am #

    I stay as far away from Med Mal and PI cases as possible. I’ll stick to corporate law and bankruptcy, which are far less complicated than that medical related gobbledygook. But even that is still better than Family Law.

    • Momalegal March 16, 2011 at 1:42 pm #

      You can HAVE all the corporate and bankruptcy you want! I love the defense side. Plaintiff side, not so much. Thank God I changed my mind when I considered family law for, like, a nanosecond when I was in school. 🙂

  3. Practical Paralegalism March 16, 2011 at 8:26 am #

    Bless your heart. I shared my own limited experience with in a post earlier this year. I am proud to say that after months of pulling my hair out, including my eyebrows, I did finally receive a letter from Medicare saying NO LIEN

    Here’s my post link for anyone that hasn’t had this big fun yet:

    • Paralegal Hell March 16, 2011 at 9:04 am #

      I am with you Grumpy…Bankruptcy law is where I choose to be. Once you learn it, there are no, what ifs. Bankruptcy is its own law and you don’t have to jump through government hoops to get shit done.

      Although, Mom-a-Legal, if we were closer, I would meet you for Happy Hour 🙂

      • Momalegal March 16, 2011 at 1:49 pm #

        Hell yeah to happy hour! 🙂 I’ve known lots of people who love bankruptcy and corporate, I just can’t hang. Give me some crazy medical shit any day. Although, once I started doing med mal and nursing home defense,a good old fashioned car wreck case was fun once in a while. I think that’s one of the great things about being a paralegal. There’s so many different areas of law, there’s something for everybody. 🙂

    • Momalegal March 16, 2011 at 1:43 pm #

      @ Lynne – I thought I remembered something from your blog about Medicare being a pain in the butt. Shocking, right? Even though it was frustrating as hell, I still had to laugh because it was so ridiculous!

  4. Another ParaLegal April 11, 2011 at 1:11 pm #

    But it gets better…wait until you have to get a letter of satisfaction of the lien or…GOD FORBID you have to set up a Medicare Set Aside. THEY have to approve it but, as I recently found out, they can just say “eh, we don’t have time or personnel to review this proposal. Hope you do it right because we might come back in oh…20 years and say you owe us money for all those medicals we paid! But don’t forget we add INTEREST!!!” We missed a submission date by 3 days because of the bad weather…nor sleet or snow my ass does mail get there…and had to pay an extra $800 in interest! TOTAL BS!

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