We are now a few weeks into Settlement Season and the pace of our consulting business has noticeably quickened. But there is one point we want to make about why it is important not to wait until the last minute to give us a call. In fact, it is far better to reach out to us at an earlier stage, well in advance of conducting a first mediation session or the formal commencement of settlement talks.
The reason for this is pretty simple: it’s far better for us to be brought into a new situation too early than too late. When we are brought in too late in the process the cake may already be too far baked for us to do as much as we can in improving the flavor. In other words, the more up to speed we are in terms of the particulars of any given lawsuit (and the health care profile of the personal injury plaintiff), the more benefit we can provide when it comes to planning and structuring a settlement in order to maximize the long-term benefits both for you and your client.
Let me give you an example of why timing can be so important. We were recently brought into a case post-settlement to try to help the plaintiff with planning and heath care issues. This was an extreme example of bringing us in ‘too late’. In this situation, the plaintiff’s attorney had looked at a potential lien, saw that the lien letter had come from a private insurer, and assumed that it was not a proper lien. The plaintiff’s attorney not only did not consider the lien when negotiating the case, but he also disbursed the money to the client. What the plaintiff’s attorney didn’t consider was that his client was in a Medicare Advantage plan, and that in NY, although the program was through a private insurer, they have the same lien rights as Medicare. In addition, the Medicare Advantage Plan now has real concerns for Medicare Secondary Payor Act and protecting their future interest as they will not pay for the injuries of the lawsuit post-settlement.
These are the types of issues it is easy for us to identify when we review case files well in advance of settlement talks. That way, when it’s time to head into settlement negotiations you already know what sort of liens and set asides need to be dealt with and what will be the best way to structure a settlement in order to insure continuity of health care coverage for your client.
In the world of healthcare insurance not everything is as straightforward as it seems – and not that much seems straightforward to start with. So please give us a call and contact us sooner than later so we can really help maximize settlement value for you and your client instead of merely putting out fires.