January 14, 2021
We take a look at what’s in the crystal ball for Medicare Secondary Payer (MSP) short-term issues in the year ahead.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the famous —or infamous, depending on your perspective— “Patel Memo” that formally launched CMS’s Workers’ Compensation Medicare Set-Aside review process. It was probably safe to assume that a government program like this would still be around two decades later. However, the expansion of CMS’s authority to require mandatory reporting along with stepped up efforts to recover conditional payments by both Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans was less predictable.
I won’t hazard a guess on what Medicare Secondary Payer compliance will be like 20 years from now but will predict the outcomes of some short-term issues.
In June 2012 CMS issued an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) with ideas as to how Medicare’s interests could be considered in the settlement of future medicals in a liability case. Ultimately, the ANPRM was withdrawn in October 2014.
Nothing further was heard from CMS management until December 2018 when it indicated proposed rules would be issued in September 2019. Subsequent notices postponed the date to March 2021.
Prediction: Since CMS will have new leadership and its attention has turned to vaccine distribution, I suspect we will not see proposed rules on LMSAs this year. Even if CMS proposes regulations, they would not be implemented until after a comment period followed by revisions, which would likely stretch into 2022.
Section 111 Penalties
On February 18, 2020, CMS issued its proposed regulations specifying how and when it would impose civil money penalties if Non-Group Health Plans fail to meet Section 111 Mandatory Insurer Reporting responsibilities. A comment period ended on April 20, 2020 (Please see CMP Comments Submitted for Tower’s comments on the proposal).
Prediction: Since CMS completed the process of releasing the proposed rule and receiving comment and the issuance of this regulation is statutorily required by the SMART Act of 2012 prior to issuing any penalties, I expect the final rule will be issued in 2021. Once issued, it will likely become effective within 60 days.
On December 11, 2020, President Trump signed into law HR 8900, Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2021, which included the provisions of the Provide Accurate Information Directly Act or PAID Act.
The PAID Act requires CMS to provide applicable plans (liability insurance, no-fault insurance and workers’ compensation laws or plans) access to Medicare beneficiary enrollment status in Medicare Advantage and Part D Prescription Drug plans through the Section 111 Mandatory Insurer Reporting process. (Please review PAID Act Becomes Law for a full explanation of the law and its implications.)
Prediction: Per the law, CMS must provide access to Medicare Advantage and Part D plan information by December 11, 2021 (one year from the date of enactment). As CMS must implement technical changes to the Section 111 reporting platform to provide such access, it may not be ready by that date.
Beyond these three predictions, some issues to watch in the coming year:
- Continued trend toward non-submit MSAs
- More professional administration of MSAs
- Cases affecting Medicare Advantage plan recovery rights
- Per proposal from President-elect Biden, lowering of Medicare eligibility age to 60
- “New” MSA reform legislation
A happy and safe new year to you and your families.