Chalk up another win for corporations, insurance carriers, and attorneys against the federal government.

An Alabama federal court recently dismissed a U.S. government lawsuit against attorneys, corporate defendants, and their insurers for failing to take Medicare’s interests into account in a 2003 $300 million settlement, citing the statute of limitations.

Federal law provides that Medicare may not pay for any item or service where payment has been made, or can reasonably be expected to be made, by a worker’s compensation law or plan of the United States or a State or under an automobile or liability insurance policy or plan (including a self-insured plan) or under no fault insurance. 42 USC Section 1395y(b)(2)(A). In order to recover payments for such items or services, not only may the U.S. join or intervene in any action related to the events that gave rise to the need for the item or service, but the government may also bring an action against any entity which is required or responsible (directly, as third-party administrator, or otherwise) to make payment and may collect double damages against that entity, or against any other entity (including any attorney, physician or provider) that has received payment from that entity with respect to the item or service. 42 USC Section 1395y(b)(2)(B).

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