Changes Afoot For Medicare’s Conditional Payment Reimbursement Process

September 5, 2015

Expect potential changes in the Medicare’s conditional payment reimbursement process related to a workers’ compensation claim while the claim is still open, possibly more than once. That is among the changes stemming from a revised process to seek reimbursement of conditional payments made in a claim.

Beginning Oct. 5, Medicare is shifting responsibility for its recovery of conditional payments, where the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is pursuing recovery directly from a workers’ compensation entity, to the Commercial Repayment Center (CRC), away from the Benefits Coordination & Recovery Center (BCRC). The transition will result in several changes to the process.

Working with the experts at Tower MSA Partners means your claims professionals need not be experts on Medicare Secondary Payer (MSP) compliance or conditional payments. However, payers should be aware of the new process and take steps to reduce any challenges.

Medicare’s Conditional Payment Reimbursement Process: The Plan

The move by CMS for reimbursement recoveries from non-group health plans to the CRC follows CMS’ previous transition of group health plan recoveries. In addition to workers’ compensation entities, the change will also pertain to CMS’ recovery efforts directly from a liability insurer (including a self-insured entity) and no-fault insurer.

The transition will only affect new conditional payment recovery efforts. Actions pending prior to the transition will continue to be managed by the BCRC. The BCRC will also continue to handle recoveries when a beneficiary self reports that a workers’ compensation or other non-group health entity has primary payment responsibility for a claim where Medicare has made a conditional payment.

CRC will manage cases where the Responsible Reporting Entity (RRE) has reported Ongoing Responsibility for Medical (ORM), ORM Termination or Total Payment Obligation to Claimant (TPOC) on Section 111 of the Medicare, Medicaid, and SCHIP Extension Act of 2007 (MMSEA) and CMS has identified the primary debtor as the RRE.


One of the biggest changes is in the initial dispute process. Where the BCRC provides a Conditional Payment Letter (CPL), the CRC will issue a Conditional Payment Notice (CPN). Both are information — not requests for payments. Both identify the amount of the current conditional payment, provide a statement of reimbursement, and describe the manner for disputing the charges.

However, where the CPL has no specific date for a response, the CPN must be disputed within 30 days. Failure to do so will result in a demand letter or initial determination issued to the applicable plan for payment. While applicable plans do have appeal rights for recovery demand letters issued on or after April 28, 2015, the demand letter locks the applicable plan in place as the identified debtor. Also, interest accrues from the first day of a demand letter; however it will not be assessed if the debt is paid within 60 days.

The CRC will begin to issue CPNs starting October 25, from Section 111 data processed on or after October 5. A CPN is typically issued when an applicable plan reports under Section 111 that it has ORM or a responsibility for the claim as a primary payer, rather than when a settlement, judgment or award is issued.

To dispute the CPN, the applicable plan may contact the CRC in writing or through the Medicare Secondary Payer Recovery Portal (MSPRP). However, disputes submitted through the portal may only be on the basis of relatedness and in response to a CPN. All other disputes must be in writing.

Applicable plans will have one opportunity to file a dispute. If the CRC does not agree with the dispute, the conditional payments will be reflected in the demand letter.

What you can do

Workers’ compensation payers can help prepare for a smooth transition by taking the following actions:
• Carefully review all correspondence related to conditional payments to determine if they are generated by the CRC or BCRC.
• Develop and implement a process for the timely review of CPNs as well as CPLs.
• Make sure disputes of CPNs are properly filed within the 30-day time limit.
• Ensure Section 111 reporting information is updated.
• Make sure the ORM process is working properly.

More specific details will follow as we track the rollout of this process…. Stay Tuned!