In the segment, Gary Bruce discusses military insurance issues. Car wrecks and injury cases involving soldiers, retirees, and their dependents many times involve Military and Tricare insurance. Gary discusses how to deal with claims by the government for reimbursement of Tricare as well as legal matters that arise from the reimbursement process. Obviously, Tricare differs from other insurance companies but when there is a recovery from a third party on a claim there is an obligation to reimburse Tricare for the cost of services rendered. The good news is that there are options the insured has which might allow for a reduction of that claim, including limits attorney’s fees charged by the lawyer in the situation.
If you have questions about how your case is being handled or how to deal with issues involving the Government and your claims, Gary invites your call.
Maureen: Hello there, and welcome to Legal Break! I’m Maureen Akers and with me today, Gary Bruce, as always. Thanks so much for joining us again Gary.
Gary: Good to be here, thank you.
Maureen: We are talking today about military insurance. We live in a very strong military town. A lot of folks utilize TRICARE as their health insurance, but it can be complicated and confusing and I think one of the things that has come up is reimbursement. How does one navigate TRICARE as well as reimbursement in cases like that?
Gary: Now we’ve talked about this some in the past. Whose responsibility it is to pay if you’re involved in an accident or a fall or something that when you need medical care? Well, you use your insurance and TRICARE is no exception. But TRICARE is different than say Blue Cross or United Healthcare or Medicare or whatever else you might have. TRICARE is government-run, obviously through Administrators, but as lawyers we have to coordinate through the local jag office believe it or not.
Maureen: Wow, you don’t go straight to TRICARE, you have to go to the office?
Gary: No, and that’s their kind of local representative. So what we what we have to do, and the good news that people don’t know, is that if you do have a lawsuit, if you do have a claim to make, you have an obligation to reimburse TRICARE if you collect from a third party. If you collect from the tort fees or the person who causes a wreck or their insurance company, then you have an obligation to pay that money back for the value of the services for your medical care. As lawyers, and I want people to know this because we do it all the time but I don’t know that everybody does; the lawyer cannot charge a fee on that. So, if there is a recovery of medical bills that goes through the JAG office to reimburse TRICARE, a lawyer does not charge a fee on that. Actually, we have an obligation to do that so we have to deal early on with the JAG office and get the amounts that are claimed and put it together and then collect that for the government. So anyway I think that’s interesting if that TRICARE treats it that way, other things are not treated that way. That’s kind of the military discount so to speak, but that’s what we do
Maureen: When would it become a legal matter?
Gary: Here’s another interesting issue about it. The good news is the government understands that sometimes there’s not enough money to pay them back and try and take care of their insured. So there are mechanisms through the army, and through other means, to appeal the amount they’re claiming. And we do that a lot of times. It’s like look, there’s not enough money here to make your insured hold or soldier hold, so let’s see if we can’t reduce the amount of your lien. And we do that routinely – that’s another way to get around that.
Maureen: Right so for more information, Gary Bruce Law can help you. Thank you so much for joining us today on Legal Break, and I look forward to seeing you on the next one!
Read our most frequently asked questions, and learn how to pay for medical bills if you are a government worker or a soldier.