Long Waits For Consumers When Medicare Is ‘Secondary Payer’

KHN: By Michelle Andrews – JAN 28, 2013

Anyone who sues for personal injury probably knows that the process may take time. But for Medicare beneficiaries, too often it’s not only the legal system that grinds slowly. Lawyers and policy experts say bureaucratic inefficiency at the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) can add months or even years to the process. During that period, a beneficiary often must wait until Medicare is reimbursed for its costs before he or she can receive any payment.

A new law that, among other things, spells out clear schedules for providing details about medical claims is expected to reduce those delays.

The problem generally arises when a Medicare beneficiary believes he or she was harmed because of another party’s negligence: getting hit by a car while crossing the street, for example, or suffering lasting injury because of a careless surgical error. Read more