Paying for hospital bills when you are elderly, disabled, or of lower income can be incredibly challenging, especially after being involved in an accident that has caused serious injuries. If you are eligible for Medicaid in South Carolina, this can help offset your medical expenses after an accident. But while Medicaid may provide some relief, it is not free money. It will have to be paid back. Dealing with Medicaid law can be complicated and stressful, but with proper help it can play a positive role in helping you pay for medical expenses.
South Carolina Medicaid Eligibility Requirements
Unlike Medicare, which is based on reaching the age of 65 or having certain disabilities, Medicaid is jointly funded through federal programs and the state of South Carolina. In South Carolina, the Department of Health and Human Services sets certain income thresholds in order to determine whether or not a person can get Medicaid funding. In order to qualify for Medicaid, a family with low income cannot have income that exceeds 200% of the federal poverty level. There are some ways to qualify for Medicaid that involve a disability such as blindness or certain types of cancer. You can read more about Medicaid eligibility at the South Carolina HHS website.
How does Medicaid affect my personal injury case?
The primary inquiry for many after they have been injured is how they will pay for their medical expenses, especially if they recover less than the amount they’ve spent from the at fault party in the case. Medicaid and other types of insurance will not reduce the amount owed to you by someone who is at fault in a personal injury case. South Carolina courts have developed a doctrine known as the collateral source rule which prevents the at fault person in an injury case from benefiting from the injured party’s foresight to get Medicaid or insurance. South Carolina’s Supreme Court has stated that the collateral source rule applies to Medicaid because Medicaid is a “wholly independent source.”
Will I have to pay Medicaid back?
Generally, if Medicaid helped cover any of your hospital or medical expenses in a personal injury case, you will be required to repay Medicaid from any settlement or judgment that you receive. When Medicaid pays for part of your medical expenses, they develop something known as a lien, which stays attached to your case until you recover something. It is possible to negotiate the amount you owe Medicaid down with the help of an experienced personal injury attorney.
Get Help From a South Carolina Personal Injury Lawyer
Negotiating Medicaid liens can be one of the most complex and difficult parts of a personal injury case. However, the experienced personal injury lawyers at Surasky Law have worked Medicaid cases for years as well as experience with private insurance and other collateral sources that can help you be compensated for your medical costs after an accident.
If you have been injured, you don’t have to try to interpret Medicaid law on your own. Contact us today for a free consultation on your case.