Arkansas Department of Human Services v. Ahlborn (Ahlborn case) is a landmark medicaid collection case decided by the United States Supreme Court in 2006. The Supreme Court decided that the Arkansas Department of Human Services had no authority to assert a lien on Ahlborn’s personal injury settlement that exceeded the amount for past medical expenses stipulated by the parties in the settlement. This decision is favorable to personal injury attorneys and their clients since it limits the amount of recovery of government medicaid collection agencies. The case also eliminates the chilling effect it would have on promoting settlements.
Initially, it was believed that the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 overturned the Ahlborn decision. However, Section 202(c) of the Bipartisan Budget Act was extended for two years by the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014 which was signed by President Obama on April 1, 2014. Therefore, you may continue to rely on Ahlborn until October 2016.