Stephanie L. Schneider, PA



This edition provides you with updated need-to-know information for cases where the plaintiff's recovery may need to consider Medicare's interests (i.e. Medicare Set-Aside) or, reimburse Medicare. 
This month we introduce our first guest columnist Jeffrey Klugerman, Settlement Consultant with Delta Settlements, Fort Lauderdale, FL. See his article about structured settlements when the claimant is a minor.
We look forward to being Your Trusted Advisor Through Life.
Fondly, Stephanie
March 2013 Elder Law News
Medicare Set-aside? New CMS tools
Stephanie's Tips Corner: Ensure Your Case Can be Settled with a Durable Power of Attorney
Guest Column: Settlement Annuity for Minors
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Don't Forget About Medicare: New Easy to Use Tools on CMS Website

We all know by now that we have an affirmative duty to notify CMS of the initiation of a third-party liability lawsuit as well as the settlement of that action.  Unfortunately it takes an extremely long time to get CMS to provide the amount of its conditional liability payment. A few years ago CMS announced its (delayed) implementation of the Medicare Secondary Payer Mandatory Reporting Provision of the SCHIP Extension Act of 2007, and its intention to require plaintiffs to consider Medicare's interests. 

The good news is that CMS is taking steps to make the process easier and quicker for our clients.


Conditional Payment:

If you have not already experienced the change then go to to report your case to the Coordination of Benefits Contractor (COBC) and receive your Rights & Responsibilities letter and a Conditional Payment Letter. You can even call the Self-Service Information Line to get demand and conditional payments.


Secondary Payer Act:

You will also want to sign up for the new Secondary Payer Recovery Portal tool to save you time when either contesting the amount of a conditional payment or, uploading settlement documentation.


Medicare Set-Aside Arrangements: 

CMS has recently announced a new $300 threshold on liability settlements:

1. the settlement must be related to a physical trauma

2. the liability insurance is $300 or less

3. the client has not received and does not expect to receive any other settlement, and

4. Medicare has not issued a recovery demand letter. 


If all criteria are met then CMS will not recover from your client, the settlement, judgment or award.


The website also provides other updated information on how to self-calculate the conditional payment amount as well as when you can use the fixed percentage option for Medicare recovery.


Don't wait until you have a crisis our office at 954-382-1997  to schedule a consultation. Let us counsel you about your options so together we have time to implement a plan so you and your clients have peace of mind. 


Stephanie's Corner: Tips and Tales 
This month's 'Tips and Tales' focuses on the invaluable benefits of a well drafted Durable Power of Attorney.
Tale:   Jane Smith was involved in a catastrophic automobile accident.  Although rendered a paraplegic her cognitive abilities were not affected.  Since she was able to speak and communicate it was not necessary to pursue legal guardianship in order for her to hire you and proceed with a lawsuit.  But what happens if during the pendency of the litigation she becomes incapacitated?  What happens to your case then? How do you explain to Jane Smith's family why they have to incur thousands of dollars for a guardianship? 
Tip:  As soon as you meet with a new client and they engage your services refer them to our firm so we can prepare an incapacity plan to avoid a guardianship. That plan will include, among other documents, a Durable Power of Attorney. The DPOA will specifically authorize an agent to be able to initiate or continue a lawsuit including the ability to settle it.  The cost of an incapacity plan is minimal compared to the cost of a guardianship and will maintain your client's privacy which is priceless.
    We want you to be an informed consumer when making a decision for yourself and/or your family. Let us use our expertise to create an estate & incapacity plan that helps you achieve your goals. 
Proper Planning May Create Peace of

Protecting a Minor's Settlement Proceeds with a Settlement Annuity


Does your case involve a minor? As you are aware a judge in most jurisdictions will assist in the determination of the settlement and settlement funds when you have a personal injury or wrongful death case where one of the claimants is a minor. In most of these cases there are a couple of options to consider for the settlement funds:


The first option is a single lump sum cash payment. Most judges will require this payment to be put into a protected account. The guardian will need to keep an accounting of the funds and report any income gained on these funds. In addition, an annual accounting may be required for the Court.  When the child reaches the age of majority they will then get complete control of the funds.


The second option is a structured settlement annuity. This is set up at the time of settlement and presented to the Court for their approval as well. The funds are placed with a life insurance company and provides for specific dollar amount payments on specific dates as agreed in the Settlement Agreement and Release.


Why not provide the opportunity to plan for the minor's future with no further record keeping or cost? Many parents and/or guardians are concerned about what will happen with the money once the minor attains the age of majority and gets control of the funds with either option.  Statistics show that within a couple of years, the money will be spent. 


A structured settlement annuity's income tax free periodic payments can be scheduled to coincide with or provide for college tuition, payment of future medical needs and retirement planning, and other life care events. They offer dependability and help ensure that the money is not squandered or lost.  These annuities also provide competitive returns with low risk (typically better than bank savings accounts or Registry of the Court) and relieve the individual of the burden of money management fees and investment decisions.


There may be instances that a minor may have a need for their settlement proceeds immediately to satisfy current medical costs, educational costs or special needs services. If there is that need, a combination of lump sum cash and a structured settlement annuity should be considered. 

Jeffrey Klugerman is a Structured Settlement Consultant with Delta Settlements in Fort Lauderdale, FL. He can be reached at 954-349-2033 or

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Stephanie L. Schneider, CELA


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