Student Loan Default Causes Doctor to Lose Medicare/Medicaid Eligibility

Many doctors and other professionals have graduated from graduate school with huge student loan debts, sometimes taking years to pay them off.

Medical professionals have the risk that if they fail to pay their loans, the United States will stop payment from federal sources for services provided.

In a recent case, the Department of Health and Human Services began exclusion of a doctor from receiving Medicare or Medicaid, threatening to cut off payment for services.  This was after the physician failed to make payments on her loan, after a default judgment was entered, and after the physician failed to respond to correspondence from the government.  The action to cut off Medicare payments finally brought a response from the physician, who settled the claim.

According to the United States Attorney General’s office, the government will aggressively pursue those who fail to make good on their promises and obligations to repay their federally backed student loans.

Generally, such loans may not be discharged and there is no statute of limitations that would prevent the government from seeking repayment.  The government attorney in charge said that “[i]t simply is not fair that certain individuals obtain the benefits of receiving student loans, and then act irresponsibly in failing to repay them.  We will take whatever steps are necessary to collect these debts.”

Written by Matthew L. Kinley