Whenever you pursue a claim for personal injury compensation following (for example) a car accident or a slip and fall, you have an obligation to notify Medicare, Centrelink and your health insurance fund (if you use their services) of the claim. It is also safe to assume that they will need to be repaid at settlement if you have received compensation for medical treatment or financial losses; this is because you can’t ‘double dip’ or be compensated for the same loss twice.
When your claim is formulated, your lawyer will provide for all relevant ‘heads’ of loss, e.g. past financial losses, past medical costs, future care, and the insurer will (generally) make a compensation offer covering those losses. If you have been unable to work due to your injuries and have received Centrelink benefits, but have also receive financial compensation for your inability to work, Centrelink will seek repayment of an amount provided to you. Similarly, if you have received medical treatment covered by Medicare and/or your health insurance fund as well as financial compensation for past medical coats, Medicare and your health insurance fund will require reimbursement.
It’s important to note that only organisations that you have received a monetary benefit from will need to be repaid, so if (for example) you have never received a Centrelink payment before, then you will not need to worry about any repayments being made to Centrelink.
The organisation that generally requires repayment in most claims is Medicare. This is because even the most basic treatment or consultation with a medical professional has an element of government funding, even when you pay a ‘gap’ payment for the service. We can request a Notice of Past Benefits paid since the date of your injury, to ascertain which services purely relate to the injury in question. From this, Medicare can then issue a Notice of Charge which provides the figure that needs to be repaid once compensation is finalised.
Throughout your matter we will liaise directly with these organisations on your behalf, to notify them of your claim and to provide them with the regular ‘reporting’ they require, so as to keep you informed of your likely repayments at the end of your claim. If you have any other questions please feel free to contact the writer or call our offices on (08) 8419 9294. Adelaide Legal, Expect More.
Written by Stefania Scarcella, Law Graduate Paralegal, LLB