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Florida Court Decides Medicaid TPL Applies to Wrongful Death Case

The Fourth D.C.A. has held in Goheagan v. Perkinsthat the State can recover its Medicaid third-party liability lien in a wrongful death action because the federal anti-lien statute only applies to settlements of living Medicaid recipients. The Medicaid agency paid for approximately $95,000.00 of medical services provided to the decedent. A multi-million dollar verdict was entered against the driver and $1M was recovered in a bad faith claim against the insurer. AHCA asserted a lien for $95k based on F.S. 409.910(11)(f).

The Personal Representative of the estate filed a motion for equitable distribution and to reduce the Medicaid lien. The estate argued that AHCA should not recover from proceeds other than that allocated for past medical expenses. The motion was denied.

While Florida’s wrongful death statute allows recovery by survivors and the estate it does not allow Medicaid’s lien to be circumvented by a personal representative deciding how to allocate the proceeds. The appellate court evaluated the language of the federal anti-lien law and held that it applies only to Medicaid recipients who are living at the time of settlement or judgment and not to recoveries by an estate or beneficiary in a wrongful death action. The appellate court also held that the rulings in Strafford v. AHCA, 915 So.2d (Fla. 2d DCA 2005) and Ross v. AHCA, 947 So.2d 457 (Fla. 3d DCA 2006) are good law notwithstanding they pre-date the Ahlborn decision.See also Estate of Hernandez v. AHCA, 190 So.3d 139,143 (Fla. 3d DCA 2016)(anti-lien statute only applies to monies recovered by living Medicaid recipients and not to wrongful death settlements which benefit third parties).

As a probate attorney we are here to help you handle the probate in your clients’ wrongful death cases and other elder law issues.

Call us at 954-382-1997 to learn more.