BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — U.S. Sen. Max Baucus says federal Medicare officials have agreed to resolve outstanding settlement claims for at least 100 Libby asbestos victims by the end of the month.
Baucus said Tuesday that more than 150 people in Libby and Lincoln County are awaiting action by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
The agency must act before victims can receive compensation under legal settlements with the state of Montana and W.R. Grace and Co. The company for decades operated a vermiculite mine that contaminated Libby and surrounding areas with asbestos dust.
Medicare is entitled by law to a portion of the multi-million dollar settlements to pay back expenses for government-sponsored medical treatment. In some cases the process has dragged on for more than a year, preventing settlements from being finalized.