Posted on November 29, 2011 by Tower MSA Partners
The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has completed its Pilot Testing of the Workers’ Compensation Medicare Set-aside Portal (WCMSAP). The CMS will be conducting a Town Hall conference call on November 29, 2011 from 1:00 to 3:00 pm (EST), to introduce this initiative to submitters of proposed Workers’ Compensation Medicare Set-Aside Arrangement (WCMSAs) amounts, and to answer questions regarding the WCMSAP. After the Town Hall conference call, CMS will post the links of the WCMSAP application, and the WCMSAP Computer Base Training (CBT) Modules, on the Workers’ Compensation Medicare Set-aside Portal (WCMSAP) section page “Related Links Outside CMS.”
Please Note: The call in information for the WCMSAP Town Hall teleconference is:
Call in time: 1pm to 3pm
Call In Line: 1-(800) 603-1774
*Conference ID: 29840615
*Participants must use the Conference ID number to be allowed into the call.
Posted on November 21, 2011 by Tower MSA Partners
A recent study by NCCI Holdings, Inc. reports the top 10 most popular drugs prescribed for workers’ compensation claims.
10. CYCLOBENZAPRINE HCL
Workers compensation medical costs per claim average more than $6,000 and soar to nearly $25,000 for lost-time claims. The report examined workers compensation prescription drug (Rx) use, a medical expense that makes up 19% of all workers compensation (WC) medical costs.
Other key findings of the report on drugs prescribed for workers’ compensation were:
• The indicated Rx share of total medical is 19%; this is slightly higher than the estimate given in the 2010 update
• OxyContin® climbs from the number 3 WC drug in Service Year 2008 to number 1 in Service Year 2009
• Hydrocodone-Acetaminophen drops from the top WC drug in Service Year 2008 to number 3 in Service Year 2009
• Recent overall cost increases are driven more by utilization increases than by price increases
• Physician dispensing continues to increase in Service Year 2009 in almost every state
• Increased physician dispensing is associated with increased drug costs per claim
• Per-claim Rx costs vary significantly by state
Posted on October 26, 2011 by Tower MSA Partners
Certain beneficiaries will be able to resolve Medicare’s recovery claim by paying Medicare 25% of his/her total liability insurance settlement instead of using the traditional recovery process. This means that a beneficiary will know what he/she owes and will be able to immediately pay Medicare.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced that this new and simple fixed percentage option will be available to certain beneficiaries beginning November 7, 2011. This option is available to beneficiaries who receive certain types of liability insurance (including self-insurance) settlements of $5000 or less.
In order to elect this option to resolve Medicare’s recovery claim, the following criteria must be met:
1.The liability insurance (including self-insurance) settlement is for a physical trauma based injury. (This means that it does not relate to ingestion, exposure, or medical implant), and
2.The total liability settlement, judgment, award, or other payment is $5000 or less, and
3.The beneficiary elects the option within the required time frame and Medicare has not issued a demand letter or other request for reimbursement related to the incident, and
4.The beneficiary has not received and does not expect to receive any other settlements, judgments, awards, or other payments related to the incident.
A full explanation, including instructions on how and when to elect this option, will be available on this website on November 7, 2011 in the Fixed Percentage Option section of both the Attorney and Beneficiary Toolkits.
Please Note:When a beneficiary elects this option, he/she must understand that as part of choosing the option he/she will be giving up the right to appeal the fixed payment amount or request a waiver of recovery for the fixed payment amount.
Posted on October 19, 2011 by Tower MSA Partners
Wyden, Portman Lead Effort to Make Medicare Secondary Payer Program More Efficient, Save Taxpayer Dollars
Bill Makes Common Sense Reforms to Medicare’s Reimbursement Rules to make it easier for the program to collect from Third Party Payers
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, October 17, 2011
Jeff Sadosky (Portman) | 202-224-5190
Jennifer Hoelzer (Wyden) | 202-224-3789
Jake Thompson (Nelson) | 202-224-8795
David Ward (Burr) | 202-228-1616
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) are leading a bipartisan effort that includes U.S. Senators Ben Nelson (D- Neb.) and Richard Burr (R-N.C.) to make the Medicare Secondary Payer (MSP) Program more efficient and cost effective to taxpayers. The Strengthening Medicare and Repaying Taxpayers (SMART) Act will speed up the rate by which Medicare and its beneficiaries are reimbursed for costs that should be borne by another party.
“Streamlining third party payment fixes some of the bureaucratic requirements that often stand in the way of Medicare being reimbursed for services that they are not supposed to pay for,” Wyden said. “By making the process more efficient, Medicare will be repaid more quickly and more accurately than before and the repayment process will work the way it was designed to work. An easier repayment process is not just good for Medicare and taxpayers, but also for the beneficiary who should be able to settle their claim more quickly.”
“I am pleased to introduce the SMART Act because it will help strengthen and protect Medicare by ensuring greater reliability and efficiency of Medicare reimbursements,” said Portman. “With Washington’s sky high debt and deficit, we need to do everything we can to ensure that entitlement programs such as Medicare are cost effective and working for the very people they were designed to help.”
“The current Medicare Secondary Payment Program is a bureaucratic mess that often leaves everyone involved in the settlement process – from Medicare beneficiaries to small businesses – unsatisfied,” Sen. Nelson said. “The SMART Act will help the program run more efficiently and reduce unneeded uncertainty for all the parties involved.”
“The lack of transparency and inefficiencies with the current Medicare Secondary Payer process illustrates how Washington’s red-tape and regulatory uncertainty can adversely impact seniors and businesses,” Burr said. “In order to get our economy back on track, we simply cannot afford to continue to waste taxpayer dollars by perpetuating the inefficiencies of the current Medicare Secondary Payer system. We can and must do a better job for the seniors and stakeholders depending upon this program to be as transparent and efficient as possible.”
Under the MSP program, if a Medicare beneficiary is injured by a third party and a settlement is pursued as a result of that injury, the third party is responsible for paying for the individual’s medical expenses. If Medicare, now the “secondary payer,” pays any of the costs associated with the injury, it is entitled to reimbursement.
Several problems exist with the reimbursement process under this scenario. Under current law, Medicare does not have a way to disclose the MSP amount before settlement, creating unnecessary uncertainty that makes it hard to settle cases. Second, there are times when Medicare spends more money pursuing an MSP payment than they actually end up receiving in payment. MSP reporting requirements also require beneficiaries to submit sensitive personal information to the settlement company, causing privacy concerns. Finally, there is no clear statute of limitations on all MSP claims.
The SMART Act will address these issues by creating a process that allows CMS to disclose the MSP amount before settlement so it can be factored into the settlement; requiring Medicare to no longer pursue MSP claims that do not cover their own expenses; directing Medicare to establish an alternative method of identifying individuals so that they don’t have to provide sensitive personal information; and setting a three-year statute of limitations for most claims.
Posted on October 17, 2011 by Tower MSA Partners
October 4, 2011
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has recently published its 2007 United States Life Tables. Effective October 31, 2011, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will begin referencing the CDC’s Table 1: Life table for the total population: United States, 2007, for WCMSA life expectancy calculations. This means that for any newly submitted WCMSA proposal received by CMS’ Coordination of Benefits Contractor (COBC), or where any WCMSA case is reopened on or after October 31, 2011, CMS will apply the CDC’s 2007 Table 1 for life expectancy calculations. You may access the CDC’s United States Life Tables in the related links outside of CMS section of this page.
Posted on October 17, 2011 by Tower MSA Partners
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has recently published its 2007 United States Life Table.
Effective October 31, 2011, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will begin referencing the CDC’s Table 1: Life table for the total population: United States, 2007, for WCMSA life expectancy calculations. This means that for any newly submitted WCMSA proposal received by CMS’ Coordination of Benefits Contractor (COBC), or where any WCMSA case is reopened on or after October 31, 2011, CMS will apply the CDC’s 2007 Table 1 for life expectancy calculations.
Access the CDC’s U.S. Life Tables 2007.
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