Accuracy in Section 111 Reporting of ORM Vital to Avoiding Unnecessary Repayment Demands from Medicare

July 24, 2017

While the Commercial Repayment Center (CRC) has faced some valid criticism over the course of the past year and half in relation to its recovery efforts on behalf of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS), not all problems start with the CRC. CRC’s recovery efforts are driven by the data employers, carriers and self-insured entities report to Medicare through the Section 111 Mandatory Insurer Reporting process. Chief among the data elements reported is acceptance of Ongoing Responsibility for Medicals (ORM) and the termination thereof. If this data is reported inaccurately or there is a failure to report required data, then the applicable plan may be faced with inappropriate recovery demands by the CRC.

Applicable Plan Reporting of ORM is the Catalyst for CRC Recovery Efforts

Since October 5, 2015, the CRC has had responsibility for the recovery of conditional payments where the insurer or employer (including self-insured entities) is the identified debtor, known in CMS terms as the “applicable plan.” The CRC learns of opportunities to recover through the Section 111 Mandatory Insurer Reporting process. In other words, the applicable plan is the catalyst for Medicare conditional payment recovery by its reporting of ORM.

The mandatory reporting provisions of the Medicare Secondary Payer Act require the applicable plan to report to Medicare in three instances – the acceptance of ORM, the termination of ORM and issuance of a Total Payment Obligation to the Claimant (TPOC), settlement judgment, award or other payment. In regard to ORM, two key data elements reported are the date responsibility for ORM is accepted and the accepted diagnosis codes. Once this information is reported the following actions are initiated by CMS’s contractors:

1. The BCRC, which handles Medicare coordination of benefits, should deny payment for medical bills submitted for payment in which the billed diagnosis codes match or is similar to the reported diagnosis codes.

2. The CRC identifies medical claims that Medicare has paid that it deems related to the reported diagnosis codes.

Upon the CRC identifying treatment related to the reported diagnosis codes, it will issue a Conditional Payment Notice (CPN) to the applicable plan which itemizes charges deemed related to the injury. The applicable plan has 30 days from the date on the CPN to dispute charges after which a Demand Letter will issue demanding repayment for the charges identified by the CRC. A Demand Letter provides 120 days from receipt of the letter for the applicable plan to appeal all or some of the charges or issue payment. If payment is not issued within 60 days of receipt, interest begins to accrue from the Demand Letter date.

Reporting Accurate Acceptance of ORM and Diagnosis Codes

The trigger for reporting ORM is a claimant identified as a Medicare beneficiary and the assumption of ORM by the applicable plan. ORM is reported when the applicable plan has made a determination to assume responsibility for ORM, or is otherwise required to assume ORM—not when (or after) the first payment for medicals under ORM has actually been made. Accordingly, the ORM acceptance date is typically the date of injury.

Along with the ORM acceptance date, at least one ICD-10 diagnosis code must be reported for the diagnosis that has been accepted on the claim (If more than one diagnosis has been accepted, then additional diagnosis codes are reported). While medical provider billing records are often used to determine ICD-10 diagnosis codes to report, these should be used as a starting point, not an ending point, in identifying the correct codes to report to Medicare.

Keep in mind that medical providers, and especially hospitals, will often insert into billing records any diagnosis reported to the provider, which are not necessarily the same diagnoses that are being accepted on the claim. Consequently, the person responsible for determining the correct ICD-10 diagnosis code to report, usually the claims handler, must make an independent determination, separate and apart from the medical provider, as to whether the particular diagnosis is being accepted on the claim. If the billing records do not properly represent what is being accepted, or if further diagnosis codes are required to better define what is accepted, then online ICD-10 resources are available to identify codes which correctly represent the accepted body parts and conditions.

Once ORM and the diagnosis codes are reported, ORM is generally not addressed again until the date of ORM termination. However, causally related diagnoses may change over time, either expanding or retracting depending upon the circumstances in the claim. Accordingly, it is important to update the reported ICD-10 codes as necessary over the course of the claim.

ORM Termination Key to Cutting Off Liability to Medicare

Once ORM is accepted, CMS claims the right to recover against the applicable plan through the date of ORM termination. As such, recovery efforts by the CRC may happen years after the ORM was first reported. Further, if there is failure by the applicable plan to terminate ORM when appropriate, then the plan may receive repayment demands from CRC for time periods in which it has no liability to pay for medical treatment. An applicable plan may terminate ORM through the Section 111 Reporting process under the following situations:

Settlement with a release of medicals

No fault policy limit reached

Complete denial of the claim

Statute of limitations has run or medical benefits have otherwise been exhausted pursuant to state law

Judicial determination after a hearing on the merits finding no liability

Statement from treating physician – signed statement from the injured individual’s treating physician that he/she will require no further medical items or services associated with the claim/claimed injuries.

Keep in mind that closing a claim file is not a trigger for ORM termination unless it is accompanied by one of the above situations.

Providing CMS with an ORM termination gives a bookend to recovery by the CRC. If no termination date is provided, then CRC assumes the applicable plan remains liable for injury-related payments.

Recommendations for Ensuring Accurate ORM Reporting

The reporting of ORM acceptance and termination and defining accepted diagnosis codes is so important because it is the applicable plan’s admission of responsibility to pay for medical care during the reported time period and for the reported diagnoses. If an error is made in reporting or there is an omission in reporting, then it can result in attempts by Medicare to recover for conditional payments unrelated to the injury or for time periods during which the applicable plan is not liable. Errors in reporting can also lead to inappropriate denials in the payment of claimant’s medical care by Medicare or Medicare paying for medical care for which the applicable plan is responsible.

Recommendations to avoid these errors and omissions:

1. Train Claims Handlers on ORM Reporting: If a claims handler is responsible for inserting the data required for ORM reporting, then they require training as to when ORM acceptance and termination is to be reported and how to determine the appropriate diagnosis codes to report with ORM acceptance.

2. Effective Quality Assurance of ORM Reporting: Even with training, errors will occur. Additional resources placed into quality assurance of ORM reporting, such as double-checking claims for proper ORM termination and appropriate diagnosis code choices avoids the expenditure of additional resources at a later date to correct errors in reporting and correction of unnecessary recovery demands from the CRC. If you are an employer or carrier relying upon a TPA to report, it is especially recommended that a QA process be in place to check the data entered by the TPA.

3. Ensure Reporting Platform is Accurately Reporting: Section 111 Reporting is electronically based and requires a data exchange with Medicare. Errors can and will occur in this data exchange. Ensure you have a trusted and reliable reporting agent to assist with accurate reporting to Medicare.

Finally, if any correspondence is received from the CRC or the U.S. Treasury Department claiming conditional payment recovery it must be acted upon immediately. Do not assume the letter was issued in error and will simply go away. If you do not believe you are liable for the conditional payments for which the CRC is claiming recovery, first confirm you have correctly reported ORM and then work with your MSP compliance partner to appropriately dispute the charges.

For questions stemming from this article please contact Dan Anders at (888) 331-4941

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Advanced Notice of Proposed Rule Making

June 18, 2012

This advance notice of proposed rulemaking solicits comment on standardized options CMS has considered making available to beneficiaries and their representatives to clarify how they can meet their obligations to protect Medicare’s interest with respect to Medicare Secondary Payer (MSP) claims involving automobile and liability insurance (including self-insurance), no-fault insurance, and workers’ compensation when future medical care is claimed or the settlement, judgment, award, or other payment releases (or has the effect of releasing) claims for future medical care.

To be considered, comments regarding CMS-6047-ANPRM must be recieved on or before 5pm on August 14, 2012.

The primary purpose of this ANPRM is to respond to affected parties’ requests for guidance on “future medicals” MSP obligations, specifically, how  individuals / beneficiaries can satisfy those obligations effectively and efficiently.   Currently, individuals involved in certain workers’ compensation situations are able to use Medicare’s formal, yet voluntary, Medicare Set-Aside Arrangement (MSA) review process in order to determine if a proposed set-aside amount is sufficient to meet their MSP obligations related to “future medicals.” To date, Medicare has not established a similar process for  individuals/beneficiaries to use to meet their MSP obligations with respect to  future medicals” in liability insurance (including self-insurance) situations. CMS is soliciting comment on whether and how Medicare should implement such a similar process in liability insurance situations, as well as comment on the proposed definitions and additional options outlined later in this section. CMS is further soliciting suggestions on options they have not included later in  this section. In its own words, CMS is most interested in the feasibility and usability of the outlined options and whether implementation of these options would provide affected parties with sufficient guidance.

Medicare is considering the options listed below in an effort to develop an efficient and effective means for addressing “future medicals.” Options 1 through 4 would be available to Medicare beneficiaries as well as to individuals who are not yet beneficiaries. Options 5 through 7 would be available to beneficiaries only. CMS is requesting comment on the feasibility and usability of all of the options, and also requests proposals for additional options for consideration.

The seven (7) proposed options include the following:

Option 1. The individual/beneficiarypays for all related future medical care until his/her settlement is exhausted and documents it accordingly.

The beneficiary may choose to govern his/her use of his/her settlement proceeds himself/herself. Under this option, he/she would be required to pay for all related care out of his/her settlement proceeds, until those proceeds are appropriately exhausted. As a routine matter, Medicare would not review documentation in conjunction with this option, but may occasionally request documentation from beneficiaries selected at random as part of Medicare’s program integrity efforts.

Option 2. Medicare would not pursue “future medicals” if the individual/beneficiary’s case fits all of the conditions under either of the following headings:

a. The amount of liability insurance (including self-insurance) “settlement” is a defined amount or less and the following criteria are met:

  • The accident, incident, illness, or injury occurred one year or more before the date of “settlement;”
  • The underlying claim did not involve a chronic illness/condition or major trauma;
  • The beneficiary does not receive additional “settlements;” andShow citation box
  • There is no corresponding workers’ compensation or no-fault insurance claim.

b.  The amount of liability insurance (including self-insurance) “settlement” is a defined amountor less and all of the following criteria are met:

  • The individual is not a beneficiary as of the date of “settlement;”
  • The individual does not expect to become a beneficiary within 30 months of the date of “settlement;”
  • The underlying claim did not involve a chronic illness/condition or major trauma;
  • The beneficiary does not receive additional “settlements;” and
  • There is no corresponding workers’ compensation or no-fault insurance claim.

Option 3. The individual/beneficiary acquires/provides an attestation regarding the Date of Care Completion from his/her treating physician.

a. Before Settlement—When the individual/beneficiary obtains a physician attestation regarding the Date of Care Completion from his or her treating physician, and the Date of Care Completion is before the “settlement,” Medicare’s recovery claim would be limited to conditional payments it made for Medicare covered and otherwise reimbursable items and services provided from the Date of Incident through and including the Date of Care Completion. As a result, Medicare’s interest with respect to “future medicals” would be satisfied. The physician must attest to the Date of Care Completion and attest that the individual/beneficiary would not require additional care related to his/her “settlement.”

b. After Settlement—When the individual/beneficiary obtains a physician attestation from his or her treating physician after settlement regarding the Date of Care Completion, Medicare would pursue recovery for related conditional payments it made from the date of incident through and including the date of “settlement.” Further, Medicare’s interest with respect to future medical care would be limited to Medicare covered and otherwise reimbursable items and/or services provided from the date of “settlement” through and including the Date of Care Completion. The physician must attest to the Date of Care Completion and attest that the individual/beneficiary would not require additional care related to his/her “settlement.” CMS requests comment on the efficacy and feasibility of this option.

Option 4. The Individual/Beneficiary Submits Proposed Medicare Set-Aside Arrangement (MSA) Amounts for CMS’ Review and Obtains Approval.

Currently, CMS has a formal process to review proposed MSA amounts in certain workers’ compensation situations. Recently CMS has received a high volume of requests for official review of proposed liability insurance (including self-insurance) MSA amounts. This has prompted them to consider whether to implement a formal review process for proposed liability insurance (including self-insurance) MSA amounts. For more information related to workers’ compensation MSA process, please visit  CMS specifically solicits comment on how a liability MSA amount review process could be structured, including whether it should be the same as or similar to the process used in the workers’ compensation arena, whether review thresholds should be imposed, etc.

Option 5. The beneficiary participates in one of Medicare’s recovery options.

Recently, CMS implemented three options with respect to resolving Medicare’s recovery claim in more streamlined and efficient manners. Before a demand letter is issued, the beneficiary or his/her representative may participate in one of three recovery options, which allows the beneficiary to obtain Medicare’s final conditional payment amount before settlement. The three recovery options are as follows:

  • $300 Threshold—If a beneficiary alleges a physical trauma-based injury, obtains a liability insurance (including self-insurance) “settlement” of $300 or less, and does not receive or expect to receive additional “settlements” related to the incident, Medicare will not pursue recovery against that particular “settlement.”
  • Fixed Payment Option—When a beneficiary alleges a physical trauma-based injury, obtains a liability insurance (including self-insurance) “settlement” of $5,000 or less, and does not receive or expect to receive additional “settlements” related to the incident, the beneficiary may elect to resolve Medicare’s recovery claim by paying 25 percent of the gross “settlement” amount.
  • Self-Calculated Conditional Payment Option—When a beneficiary alleges a physical trauma-based injury that occurred at least 6 months prior to electing the option, anticipates obtaining a liability insurance (including self-insurance) “settlement” of $25,000 or less, demonstrates that care has been completed, and has not received nor expects to receive additional “settlements” related to the incident, the beneficiary may self-calculate Medicare’s recovery claim. Medicare would review the beneficiary’s self-calculated amount and provide confirmation of Medicare’s final conditional payment amount.

Each of the options is employed in such a way that Medicare’s interest with respect to future medicals is, in effect, satisfied for the specified “settlement.” Therefore, when a beneficiary participates in any one of these recovery options, the beneficiary has also met his/her obligation with respect to future medicals. CMS solicits comment on proposed expansions of these options and the justification for that proposed expansion, as well as any suggestions about how to improve the three options we recently implemented.

Option 6. The Beneficiary Makes an Upfront Payment.

CMS is currently considering two variations of an “upfront payment option.”

a. If Ongoing Responsibility For Medicals was imposed, demonstrated or accepted and medicals are calculated through the life of the beneficiary or the life of the injury.

If ongoing responsibility for medicals was imposed, demonstrated or accepted from the date of “settlement” through the life of the beneficiary or life of the injury, we may review and approve a proposed amount to be paid as an upfront lump sum payment for the full amount of the calculated cost for all related future medical care. This option would generally apply in workers’ compensation, no-fault insurance situations or when life-time medicals are imposed by law. In effect, this option may be used in place of administering a MSA if we have reviewed and approved a proposed MSA amount. CMS solicits comment on how to develop this process, the efficacy of it, and whether it would be utilized.

b. If Ongoing Responsibility for Medicals was Not Imposed, Demonstrated or Accepted.

If a beneficiary obtains a “settlement,” our general rule stated previously applies to the “settlement,” and ongoing responsibility for medicals has not been imposed on, demonstrated by or accepted by the defendant, the beneficiary may elect to make an upfront payment to Medicare in the amount of a specified percentage of “beneficiary proceeds.” This option would most often apply in liability insurance (including self-insurance situations, primarily due to policy caps. For the purposes of this option, the term “beneficiary proceeds” would be calculated by subtracting from the total “settlement” amount attorney fees and procurement costs borne by the beneficiary, Medicare’s demand amount (for conditional payments made by Medicare), and certain additional medical expenses the beneficiary paid out of pocket. Such additional medical expenses are specifically limited to items and services listed in 26 U.S.C. 213(d)(1)(A) through (C) and 26 U.S.C. 213(d)(2). The calculation of beneficiary proceeds does not include medical expenses paid by, or that are the responsibility of, a source other than the beneficiary.  CMS specifically solicits comment on how to develop this process, its efficacy, and whether it would be utilized. CMS further requests comment on the calculation of beneficiary proceeds, the appropriate percentage(s) to be used, and how the percentage(s) is/are justified.Show citation box

Option 7. The Beneficiary Obtains a Compromise or Waiver of Recovery.

If the beneficiary obtains either a compromise or a waiver of recovery, Medicare would have the discretion to not pursue future medicals related to the specific “settlement” where the compromise or waiver of recovery was granted. If the beneficiary obtains additional “settlements,” Medicare would review the conditional payments it made and adjust its claim for past and future medicals accordingly. CMS specifically solicits comment on whether this approach is practical and usable, as it relates to “future medicals.”

We encourage you to read and evaluate each of the seven options as they relate to your business and settlement objectives and email us at with questions, feedback and suggestions.  We will continue our due diligence as well, and will publish our thoughts as to the pro’s and con’s of each option.  As noted, we have 60 days to respond with comments and recommendations.

Click here for the complete version of CMS-6047-ANPRM.







Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services (CMS) Town Hall Teleconference Call Summary

November 29, 2011

CMS Town Hall Teleconference Call Summary
November 22, 2011

The most recent Town Hall Teleconference was hosted by the Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on Wednesday, November 16, 2011. Areas of technical concern discussed during the teleconference related to Section 111 of the Medicare, Medicaid, and SCHIP Extension Act of 2007 (MMSEA) mandatory reporting.

Below is a synopsis of the items discussed:

  •  CMS and Coordination of Benefits Contractor (COBC) responded to multiple callers who described scenarios in which Medicare beneficiaries were being denied payment and/or services for medical conditions unrelated to the workers’ compensation injury. In some situations the beneficiary was being directed to contact his/her workers’ compensation, no fault or liability claim adjuster to obtain authorization for procedures NOT related to the beneficiary’s covered injury.The CMS COBC representatives requested that specific examples of improper provider denials be directed to the individuals hosting the call and they would deal with the issues.As an adjunct, CMS restated the instructions in the 3.2 Version of the User Guidelines which direct RRE’s to report as many ICD9 codes as are applicable to the injury, but reinforced that ONLY those codes that describe the injury are to be reported. If ICD9 codes related to other medical conditions are reported, the COBC may assume that services related to these codes are to be covered by the RRE.
  • CMS discussed the ‘51 disposition code’ errors that are being generated when their system is unable to match on 3 of the 4 personal identification data elements being submitted by the RRE noting that it is extremely important that RRE’s go back and confirm that their info is correct.
    If the RRE has a claim to report, but is unable due to the ’51 disposition code’ error, the RRE may still be considered as non-compliant. The clear message was to address the error.
  • CMS and the COBC reminded the RRE’s that claim records are NOT to be submitted until claim responsibility is established. While the claim is under investigation, no submission should occur.The responsibility to report a workers’ compensation, liability or no fault claim only arises where there is a Medicare beneficiary and either the RRE has assumed responsibility for payment of medical benefits or a TPOC event occurs. Absent those two events no information should be reported on the claim input file.
    The one caveat to the above directive occurs in conjunction with the requirement in certain states (TX and MI were examples) that the entity must pay while investigating claims or during claim appeal. In these situations or ORM, the claim needs to be reported.
  • CMS explained that in situations where ongoing responsibility for medical benefits will continue for a term of months or years following a TPOC event, Medicare expects a subsequent notice of ORM termination to be provided at the time of the ORM termination. CMS will not allow RREs to report ORM terminations that are, for instance, one to two years into the future. RREs must report both the TPOC event and the ORM termination date when they occur, independently.
  • Improper reporting of TPOC amount in Liability settlements – In liability cases where several insurers are individually responsible for payment, the following directive was given. If there are separate settlements, only report the amount of your settlement. In cases where there is joint and several liability, each RRE must report the full TPOC amount.
  • Beginning January, 2012, RRE’s will receive emails asking each to confirm the accuracy of the RRE’s profile information in order to renew. Emails will be sent both the authorized representative and to the account manager. The representative must contact the EDI representative to confirm accuracy, or to update the profile. The authorized representative will also need to sign and submit newly assigned profile. If not signed, the RRE’s EDI application might be revoked (If the authorized representative is no longer with company, account manager should get email and can respond). RRE’s should expect this and should let their EDI representative know if either or both leave the company.
    Those were the primary issues discussed during the teleconference, with many questions surrounding the improper denial of Medicare coverage. The next Town Hall Teleconference will occur on Wednesday December 14th, and that call will focus on both policy matters.

For more information on SCHIP 111 , please contact Tower MSA Partners @ 888.331.4941 or email your questions to