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DTCI: New Medicare reimbursement and reporting law

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By Nicholas C. Pappas and Jeffrey J. Mortier
 

Pappas_Nicholas.jpg Pappas
Mortier_JeffreyBW Mortier

On January 10, 2013, President Barack Obama signed into law the Strengthening Medicare and Repaying Taxpayers Act of 2012 (“SMART Act”). When finally implemented, the SMART Act should streamline settlement negotiations and provide more certainty to settlements involving Medicare beneficiaries.

The SMART Act will significantly modify Medicare’s Secondary Payer requirements to be more efficient, workable and user-friendly. Using a secure website, claimants, insurers and self-insureds should be able to obtain information about payments for which Medicare claims it is entitled to reimbursement and will be entitled to rely on that information when claims are paid (so long as proper notice is given). In addition, entities required to report payments to Medicare beneficiaries will likely be given some reprieve from the harsh penalties for noncompliance with Section 111’s reporting requirements when good-faith efforts are made to report a potential third-party claim.

Key elements of the SMART Act include:

(1) Medicare must provide claimants, insurers and self-insureds with access to a secure website that contains information relating to payments made by Medicare that may be subject to reimbursement from any potential settlement, judgment, award or other payment.

(2) Claimants, insurers and self-insureds may give notice to Medicare of a potential settlement, judgment, award or other payment within 120 days of the potential settlement, judgment, award or other payment. Medicare then has 65 days to provide its reimbursement amount. If proper notice is provided, the claimants, insureds and self-insureds that have obtained consent of the claimant then may rely on the last statement of reimbursement amount downloaded from the Medicare website so long as the statement was downloaded within three business days before the date of the settlement, judgment, award or other payment. The amount downloaded is then considered the “final conditional amount” subject to recovery by Medicare.

(3) Claimants who believe there is a discrepancy in the final conditional payment amount may provide documentation to Medicare explaining the discrepancy. Medicare then must respond to the discrepancy within 11 days. However, this discrepancy process does not take the place of a formal appeals process and the Act requires Medicare to promulgate regulations establishing an appeals process.

(4) Medicare must establish thresholds for both conditional payments and Section 111 reporting. The thresholds are designed to prevent Medicare from expending more money in collection efforts than it stands to receive on a given claim. The thresholds are to be established on Nov. 15 of each year beginning in 2014.

(5) Section 111’s per diem failure to report penalty is now discretionary, as Medicare “may” subject a claim to “a civil penalty of up to $1,000 for each day of noncompliance.” In addition, Medicare must give notice of proposed regulations in which sanctions will not be imposed for non-reporting, including when good-faith efforts to report have been undertaken.

(6) Within 18 months of the enactment of the Act, Medicare must modify Section 111’s reporting requirements so that Social Security account numbers and health identification claim numbers are not required.

(7) A three-year statute of limitations for Medicare Secondary Payer actions is established.

In order to take full advantage of the law, it will be important to notify Medicare in advance of settlement conferences and mediations, to obtain consents from claimants to access information on the amounts claimed by Medicare, and to download the final conditional payment amount within three days of any settlement conference or mediation.•

Mr. Pappas and Mr. Mortier serve as National Medicare Reporting Coordinating Counsel at Frost Brown Todd LLC in Indianapolis. Both are members of DTCI. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors.

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  1. Someone off their meds? C'mon John, it is called the politics of Empire. Get with the program, will ya? How can we build one world under secularist ideals without breaking a few eggs? Of course, once it is fully built, is the American public who will feel the deadly grip of the velvet glove. One cannot lay down with dogs without getting fleas. The cup of wrath is nearly full, John Smith, nearly full. Oops, there I go, almost sounding as alarmist as Smith. Guess he and I both need to listen to this again: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CRnQ65J02XA

  2. Charles Rice was one of the greatest of the so-called great generation in America. I was privileged to count him among my mentors. He stood firm for Christ and Christ's Church in the Spirit of Thomas More, always quick to be a good servant of the King, but always God's first. I had Rice come speak to 700 in Fort Wayne as Obama took office. Rice was concerned that this rise of aggressive secularism and militant Islam were dual threats to Christendom,er, please forgive, I meant to say "Western Civilization". RIP Charlie. You are safe at home.

  3. It's a big fat black mark against the US that they radicalized a lot of these Afghan jihadis in the 80s to fight the soviets and then when they predictably got around to biting the hand that fed them, the US had to invade their homelands, install a bunch of corrupt drug kingpins and kleptocrats, take these guys and torture the hell out of them. Why for example did the US have to sodomize them? Dubya said "they hate us for our freedoms!" Here, try some of that freedom whether you like it or not!!! Now they got even more reasons to hate us-- lets just keep bombing the crap out of their populations, installing more puppet regimes, arming one faction against another, etc etc etc.... the US is becoming a monster. No wonder they hate us. Here's my modest recommendation. How about we follow "Just War" theory in the future. St Augustine had it right. How about we treat these obvious prisoners of war according to the Geneva convention instead of torturing them in sadistic and perverted ways.

  4. As usual, John is "spot-on." The subtle but poignant points he makes are numerous and warrant reflection by mediators and users. Oh but were it so simple.

  5. ACLU. Way to step up against the police state. I see a lot of things from the ACLU I don't like but this one is a gold star in its column.... instead of fighting it the authorities should apologize and back off.

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