On March 2, 2018, the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Orlando Division, published its opinion on MSPA Claims 1, LLC v. Halifax Health, Inc., in which the court found that a private right of action under the Medicare Secondary Payer Act, 42 U.S.C. §1395y(b) et seq. (MSP Act), which provides for double damages in the event of untimely reimbursement of Medicare payments in certain circumstances, is unavailable against providers of medical services. Based on such ruling, the court dismissed with prejudice claims that had been raised under the MSP Act against Halifax Hospital Medical Center, a public hospital based in Daytona Beach, Fla.
It has been a long time coming, two years to be exact. After the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced their anticipated release of a solicitation for the Workers’ Compensation Review Contractor (WCRC) in 2016 and 2017 and further announced it was continuing to consider expanding its voluntary MSA review process to include liability insurance (including self-insurance) and no-fault insurance MSA amounts in 2016 and 2017, Medicare Secondary Payer (MSP) stakeholders never thought the day would come. But, after a challenge of the awarded contract and after several months during which Provider Resources continued to work under an expired contract, on March 7, 2018, CMS finally held the WCRC Transition Webinar to introduce Capitol Bridge, LLC, the new workers’ compensation review contractor.
Rafael Gonzalez, Esq. President, Flagship Services Group
On February 8, 2018, the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) published its MEDICARE SET-ASIDES AND WORKERS COMPENSATION— 2018 UPDATE (study), written by Nedžad Arnautović. The study can be found at https://www.ncci.com/Articles/Documents/II_MSA-WC-Study.pdf What follows is a verbatim rendition of the facts, analysis, findings and conclusions found in the report.
“In September 2014, NCCI published a study on Medicare Set-Asides (MSAs) in workers compensation. Using the sample of MSAs submitted to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) between September 2009 and November 2013 and completed between January 2010 and November 2013, the study examined several aspects related to Medicare Set Asides (MSAs), such as the distribution of amounts of MSAs and total settlements that include MSAs, claimants’ age distribution, the duration of time from submission to CMS approval, and the relation between submitted and CMS-approved MSA amounts. This paper provides an update and expansion of the previous MSA study using the larger data sample as well as additional experience from 2014 and 2015.”
Rafael Gonzalez, Esq., President, Flagship Services Group
After 35 years of seeking reimbursement of conditional payments post settlement, judgment, award, or payment of a case, in 2015, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) transitioned a portion of the Non-Group Health Plan (NGHP) Medicare Secondary Payer (MSP) recovery workload from the Benefits Coordination & Recovery Center (BCRC) to its Commercial Repayment Center (CRC). As a result, on October 5, 2015, the CRC assumed responsibility for the recovery of conditional payments where CMS is pursuing recovery directly from a liability insurer (including a self-insured entity), no-fault insurer or workers’ compensation entity, referred to as Applicable Plans (AP), as the identified debtor. Since then, CMS, through a contract with CGI, had been pursuing recovery directly from APs as the identified debtor when an applicable plan reports that it has ongoing responsibility for medicals (ORM) or otherwise notifies CMS of its primary payment responsibility.
On January 12, 2018, in the Circuit Court of the 11th Judicial Circuit in and for Miami Dade County, Florida, MSPA Claims 1 filed its motion for approval of a class action settlement against Ocean Harbor Casualty Insurance. The settlement agreement is intended by the parties to fully, finally, and forever resolve, discharge, and settle all claims. The motion indicates that the settlement agreement provides a fair, flexible, speedy, cost-effective, and assured monetary settlement to the class members. Thus, the settlement agreement provides considerable benefit to the class members while avoiding costly litigation of difficult and contentious issues. The parties also indicate that the settlement agreement is a compromise, and shall not be construed as, or deemed to be evidence of admission or concession of liability or wrongdoing on the part of Ocean Harbor with respect to any claim of any fault or liability or wrongdoing or damage whatsoever.
On behalf of everyone associated with Flagship, I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you, all of our friends, colleagues, and especially our customers, for your trust and confidence in Flagship. It truly means the world to us. To know that after all these years, despite all of the statutory amendments, the compliance challenges, and the regulatory changes, you still count on us for updates, information, training, guidance, and advice on all of your Medicare and Medicaid risk management issues is so very significant for each of us at Flagship.
On November 28, 2017, the United States District Court for the District of New Mexico published its opinion in Silva v. Burwell, concluding that the uncertainty created by CMS’s repeated failure to clarify its position on requiring MSAs in personal injury settlements generally and in specific cases is proving burdensome to the settlement process. The Court further finds this case is not ripe for review because no federal law mandates CMS to decide whether Plaintiff is required to create a MSA. The Court reiterates that just because CMS has not responded to Plaintiff’s requests to clarify whether an MSA is required in personal injury claims is not reason enough for this Court to step in and determine the propriety of its actions. There may be a day when CMS requires the creation of MSA’s in personal injury cases, but that day has not arrived.
On November 26, 2017, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois published its opinion on Paraskevas v. Price, concluding that Medicare did not abuse its discretion in finding that the state court settlement order was not on the merits and was therefore not binding on CMS when seeking reimbursement of conditional payments. The Court finds the settlement compensated Plaintiff not only for the wrongful death action, but also the estate’s survivor claims in connection with the medical malpractice claim. Medicare’s decision is affirmed, and the Secretary’s final decision that Plaintiff owes $105,000 plus interest in reimbursement of conditional payments made stands.
With Medicare still in financial short and long term trouble, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and its Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), have become increasingly more aggressive about making sure Medicare is the secondary payer pre and post settlement in auto, liability, no-fault, and workers compensation claims. As a result, insurers, self insureds, and third party administrators responsible for payment of auto, liability, no-fault, and work comp claims must be aware of and understand their responsibilities under the Medicare Secondary Payer Act (MSP), and be prepared for the multiple risks associated with MSP compliance. What follows is part two of a four-part analysis of risks associated with each of the MSP compliance components: Mandatory Insurer Reporting (MIR), Conditional Payment Resolution (CPR), and Medicare Set Asides (MSA). This second part focuses on CPR compliance risks for auto, liability, no-fault, and work comp primary payers.