On July 1, 2015, CMS published an announcement on its upcoming transition of Non-Group Health Plan recovery workload from the Benefits Coordination & Recovery Center to the Commercial Repayment Center.
As part of the continuing efforts to improve the Coordination of Benefits & Recovery (COB&R) program and claims payment accuracy in Medicare Secondary Payer (MSP) situations, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will be transitioning a portion of the Non-Group Health Plan (NGHP) recovery workload from the Benefits Coordination & Recovery Center (BCRC) to its Commercial Repayment Center (CRC). CMS will also be working closely with its claims processing contractors to make sure that Medicare pays correctly in the MSP situations described below.
Effective October 2015, the CRC will assume responsibility for the recovery of conditional payments where CMS is pursuing recovery directly from a liability insurer (including a self-insured entity), no-fault insurer or workers’ compensation (WC) entity as the identified debtor.
The following should be noted regarding the planned workload transition:
- The transition only includes those cases where CMS is pursuing recovery from the liability insurer, no-fault insurer or WC entity directly.
- Beneficiaries and their attorneys will continue to work with the BCRC where CMS is pursuing recovery from the beneficiary.
- Webinars and town halls will be scheduled in the coming months to provide additional information.
For readers who are not familiar with Medicare’s Commercial Recovery Center, the CRC currently handles Group Health Plans (GHP) recoveries. Therefore, based on this announcement, it is anticipated that all NGHP recovery related activities, where CMS is pursuing recovery from the liability insurer, no-fault insurer or WC entity directly, including refund checks, correspondence, and telephone inquiries will be handled by the CRC. This may include recovery demand letters, repayment of debt, administrative appeals request, and notice of intent to refer debt to the Department of Treasury letters.
We do not yet know whether there will be any changes to the current NGHP recovery process as a result of the CRC assuming responsibility for recovery of such conditional payments. As always, Helios Settlement Solutions will continue to track such changes and will continue to inform as to any procedural and administrative effects resulting from same.
The announcement also indicates that “effective January 1, 2016, CMS will add an additional limitation to Medicare claims payments where insurers or workers’ compensation entities have reported to CMS that they have Ongoing Responsibility for Medicals (ORM).”
The announcement explains that “in situations where an insurer or workers’ compensation entity has reported to CMS that it has ongoing responsibility for medicals (ORM) for specific care, CMS’ claims processing contractors will use the information provided by the insurer or workers’ compensation entity to determine whether Medicare is able to make payment for those claims.” As a result, “insurers and workers’ compensation entities that notify Medicare that they have ORM are strongly encouraged to report accurate ICD-9 or ICD-10 codes as Medicare’s claims processing contractors will use this information to pay accordingly.”
Although we have all known for quite some time that information provided to CMS via the Mandatory Insurer Reporting (MIR) process would be used to determine whether Medicare is the primary or secondary payer of any bill received by Medicare on any given claim, this announcement makes it clear that as of January 1, 2016, CMS will in fact start using the ICD-9 or ICD-10 reported by employer/carrier/TPA/agent to determine whether Medicare should pay or deny such bills.
As a result, with ICD-10 requirements starting October 1, 2015, now more than ever, every employer, carrier, third party administrator, or agent reporting such information to CMS needs to make sure that the ICD-9 or ICD-10 codes provided to CMS are accurate and comply with the applicable guidelines. Not doing so may result in Medicare paying for items it should not have paid for, or denying payments on items it should have paid. Either way, these errors and mistakes may become the source of potential private causes of action under the MSP, or liability and professional malpractice claims away from the MSP.
As an industry leader delivering what I believe to be the best platform for MIR compliance through MedicareConnect℠, Helios can assist RREs, TPAs and insurers ensure the proper use of ICD coding throughout all areas of MSP compliance. Coding the claim correctly means the best possible outcome once the claim is reported to CMS. As a result, Helios recommends the reporting process itself should be reliable and allow for sufficient guidance to ensure the claim is accepted by CMS without the issues of mixed coding or utilization of codes not acceptable by CMS for NGHP Section 111, including where plan type may prevent usage of specific codes. To learn more about Helios’ MedicareConnect℠, please contact us at 888.672.7674, or firstname.lastname@example.org, or www.helioscomp.com/settlement-solutions/medicareconnect-mir.