Post-Settlement Care, Cost and Compliance Through Professional Administration
Posted on December 6, 2022 by Tower MSA Partners
While workers’ comp payers invest considerable resources to manage and settle claims, they don’t always prepare Medicare-eligible injured workers for life after settlement. These patients have usually been in the workers’ comp system for several years. And the system has paid for their injury’s treatment and medication, and in some cases, coordinated their care.
When their claim closes, all that comes to an end. Injured workers are on their own to navigate the healthcare system and handle the bills. They need to pay for doctors’ visits and medication from their Medicare Set-Asides (MSAs). They also need to make sure Medicare doesn’t have to pay for their injury-related care. Post-settlement compliance responsibilities can be overwhelming.
Tower’s recent Premier Webinar: Care, Cost & Compliance Through Professional Administration featured Nicole Chappelle who has nearly 30 years’ experience in all aspects of claims management — before and after settlement. Now Vice President of Settlement Solutions for Tower’s partner Ametros, Nicole joined our Chief Compliance Officer Dan Anders for what could be our liveliest webinar yet.
Here are some takeaways:
- Injured workers who are also Medicare beneficiaries can self-administer their MSA or use professional administration.
- The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) highly recommends professional administration for beneficiaries who take opioids and other frequently abused controlled substances.
- Professional administration is available for MSAs that are CMS-approved and for those that are not submitted for CMS approval.
- Payers typically cover Ametros’ one-time professional administration fee of $1,000.
Although CMS allows beneficiaries to self-administer an MSA, it strongly recommends they consider professional administration. So do we.
First, MSA funds can only be used to pay for Medicare-covered medical treatment and prescription drugs related to the claim. Learning what Medicare does and doesn’t cover is challenging at best. It’s even more confusing for an injured worker whose workers’ comp program paid for items that Medicare does not cover, such as a sophisticated power wheelchair, home healthcare, and off-label use of certain medications. Will the typical, older injured worker understand this?
Additionally, MSA funds must be kept in an interest-bearing checking or savings account and used only for the aforementioned Medicare-covered care related to the claim. Even the interest needs to be used for this purpose.
The administrator has to maintain itemized medical and pharmacy receipts, bank statements, and other records for each transaction from the MSA account. An attestation of these expenditures needs to be submitted to the Benefits Coordination & Recovery Center (BCRC) every year.
If the MSA is funded with an annuity and funds run out in any given year, the administrator must report the temporary exhaustion of funds to the BCRC. Should funds be permanently exhausted, the administrator needs to send the BCRC a final attestation letter confirming the situation.
If MSA funds remain when the beneficiary dies, the executor or administrator is to notify the BCRC and pay for outstanding (related) medical bills from the fund. But would an executor know to do this?
Some things are best left to professionals.
If you’d like to see the whole webinar, please contact Dan Anders at email@example.com for the link and slides. He’s happy to connect you with Nicole Chappelle, too. And, as always, if you have any questions about MSAs, post-settlement compliance, or other Medicare Secondary compliance issues, get in touch with Dan.
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