Medicare Conditional Payment/Set-Aside F.A.Q.

1. When must Medicare’s interest be considered?
Medicare’s interest must always be considered whenever:
(A) Medicare has paid for treatment for a disability/injury alleged in the claim petition; and/or
(B) In the closure of a workers’ compensation case the petitioner is Medicare entitled and future medicals for a disability/injury maintained in the claim petition are being foreclosed.

2. When is a petitioner considered “Medicare entitled”?
A petitioner is Medicare entitled if he or she is:
65 years or older (assuming sufficient work quarters); or
On Social Security Disability (SSD) for 24 months or longer; or
Suffering from End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD).

3. Is repaying Medicare for conditional payments (or obtaining a waiver) always required when the petitioner has received Medicare benefits?
Yes. CMS recommends that the process outlined under Question 4 of this memo be initiated as soon as possible for petitioners who have received Medicare benefits. To ensure that a record of any Medicare benefits be established, this process must be initiated in all cases when the petitioner is a Medicare beneficiary. One should also keep in mind that repaying CMS for past /conditional payments Medicare made on behalf of the petitioner is required even when no set-aside allocation review is required. Therefore, pleadings become very important in determining the extent to which past/conditional Medicare payment issues may play a role in resolving a claim. Plaintiffs/Petitioners who allege work injuries or disabilities that clearly cannot be sustained may be subjecting their cases to more extensive CMS/Medicare review and delay for alleged injuries or disabilities that will be found “non-compensable” later in the proceedings. In summary, adequate consideration must be given to the issue of conditional payments in all cases involving a Medicare beneficiary at the time of settlement. This includes cases resolved by Orders Approving Settlement, Section 20 Settlements, Judgments, and Second Injury Fund Awards. As long as the petitioner is a Medicare beneficiary, this issue must be addressed.

Greg Lois is the managing partner of LOIS LLC and dedicates his practice to defending employers and carriers in New York and New Jersey workers' compensation claims. Greg is the author of a popular series of "Handbooks" on workers' compensation, and is the co-author of the 2016-2019 Lexis-Nexis New Jersey Workers' Compensation Practice Guide. Greg can be reached at 201-880-7213 or