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As NFL players take hits, insurers collect cash

Federal laws mandate certain amount of compensation goes back to insurers

Last week, the National Football League approved a settlement that would issue payments to injured players after the league failed to properly investigate and respond to concussion-causing hits. However, a big slice of the payments will instead go to the players' health insurers, reported Bloomberg.

The NFL is expected to pay up to $1 billion to more than 20,000 retired players. A player diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) as a result of a football injury could collect up to $5 million, while someone with Parkinson's disease may be eligible for $3.5 million.

As a result of federal medical lein laws, private insurers, Medicare and Medicaid could collect up to 18 percent of the compensation, noted the article.

Recent laws allow Medicare to recover treatment costs by requiring that it be notified of any legal settlements paid to beneficiaries. Last year, the program collected $2.5 billion from taking a cut of payments made to its beneficiaries. What's more the Supreme Court ruled in 2013 that private insurers have the right to recover payments made to treat injuries by a third party.

"It is an enormous problem," George Washington University law professor Alan B. Morrison told Bloomberg. The ordeal may take a year or longer to figure out how much is owed to which insurers--and payers will be reimbursed before former players receive their settlements.

For more:
- here's the Bloomberg article

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