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CLASSIC LIST

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15/Feb/2024

CMS has announced that it is maintaining the $750 Section 111 reporting threshold and the $750 Medicare Secondary Payer statute’s (MSP) recovery thresholds for 2024. CMS’s announcement that can be found here.

The CMS notification states, “Beginning January 1, 2024, the threshold for physical trauma-based liability insurance settlements will remain at $750. CMS will maintain the $750 threshold for no-fault insurance and workers’ compensation settlements, where the no-fault insurer or workers’ compensation entity does not otherwise have ongoing responsibly for medicals.

This means that entities are not required to report, and CMS will not seek recovery on settlements, as outlined above. Please note that the liability insurance (including self-insurance) threshold does not apply to settlements for alleged ingestion, implantation, or exposure cases.

Additional information regarding the methodology used to determine the threshold is also provided at the link to the announcement.

For Additional Information

Medivest will continue to monitor news and updates from CMS, and will keep its readers up to date when important announcements are made. For questions about this chart or any other recent updates, feel free to reach out to the Medivest representative in your area by clicking here or call us direct at 877.725.2467.


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23/Jan/2024

On January 22, 2024 the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released their data for the Top 10 Section 111 Non-Group Health Plan Reporting Errors July – December 2023. The chart with the list of errors and their rank can be viewed below. A downloadable PDF of this chart along with an explanation of the error codes can be viewed here at the CMS website.

Medivest will continue to monitor news and updates from CMS, and will keep its readers up to date when important announcements are made. For questions about this chart or any other recent updates, feel free to reach out to the Medivest representative in your area by clicking here or call us direct at 877.725.2467.


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10/Jan/2024

CMS updated the Medicare Secondary Payer Recovery Portal (MSPRP) User Guide on January 8, 2024 to version 6.0, which outlines updated functionality and improvements to the Portal. The User Guide can be found here.

Changes of Note

Chapter 1 contains a summary of updates / changes, many of which are administrative in nature.

One change of a substantive nature is that the definition of a disputed claim has been updated (Table 15-13).

Language on the Case Creation Continued page for self-reporting a case that is non-trauma based has been updated and clarified (Table 13-3).

Also, to reduce the number of cases submitted in error, beneficiaries, insurers, and authorized representatives now have the ability to close and permanently remove a case from their account that was reported via the MSPRP in error (Sections 12.1.3 and 12.2.4).

Probably most importantly, MSPRP users can now submit any type of correspondence for BCRC or CRC cases via the MSPRP portal. A generic Submit Case Documentation action has been added to the Case Information page, along with subsequent pages used to upload and submit documents. This is extremely helpful because in the past only certain types of documents could be uploaded on the portal and otherwise, had to be faxed or mailed in with the added time and hassle of having to confirm receipt at a later date.  Now, all types of documents may be uploaded.  This will save time and will help simplify the process for any case and especially those more complex cases that have multiple defendant and/or UIM payers.

Lastly, the Letter Activity tab has been renamed Correspondence Activity and references to these screens and sections have been updated throughout the application (Section 15.1.2.13).

For Additional Information

Count on Medivest to help keep you up to date with the constant updates, guidance, and rule changes related to CMS’s enforcement of the MSP on a regular basis. For questions, feel free to reach out to the Medivest representative in your area by clicking here or call us direct at 877.725.2467.


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04/Jan/2024

CMS will be hosting a webinar regarding Certain Civil Money Penalties Final Rule for NGHP Responsible Reporting Entities (RREs). The format will be opening remarks and a presentation by CMS that will include discussion of the Final Rule, the auditing process and important dates, followed by a question and answer session. RREs who would like to submit questions in advance of the webinar are encouraged to do so using the dedicated resource mailbox at Sec111CMP@cms.hhs.gov.


 

Date:    January 18, 2024
Time:    1:00 PM ET

Webinar Link:  https://cms.zoomgov.com/s/1614664558?pwd=enlySUNSSjF1UnMzUy9vRWJodWl1dz09
Passcode:        513018

Or to connect via phone:

Conference Dial In: (833) 568-8864
Conference Passcode: 161 466 4558

Important Note: This is a public webinar and there is no pre-registration needed. The webinar link should only be utilized the day of the webinar. Due to the number of expected participants, please log in at least 10 minutes prior to the start of the presentation.


 

CMS has also announced it will be hosting a webinar regarding Certain Civil Money Penalties Final Rule for GHP Responsible Reporting Entities (RREs). Information on that webinar can be found on CMS’s website.

Additional information about recent updates from CMS can be found here. If you have questions on how topics discussed in this webinar may affect your clients, please contact Medivest here or call us at 877.725.2467.


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06/Dec/2023

On December 4th, 2023, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) shared a new report titled Workers’ Compensation Medicare Set-Aside (WCMSA) Fiscal Year Statistics 2023. The report provides four fiscal years of data regarding Workers’ Compensation Medicare Set-Aside (WCMSA) Proposed Value and Workers’ Compensation Review Contractor Values (WCRC) from 2020 to 2023.

Takeaways

Total Submissions
Total WCMSA submissions to CMS declined steadily between CMS’ FY 2020 and FY 2022, descending from 16,517 to 13,752, a reduction of almost 17% in three years. FY 2023’s 15,743 submission count represents a reversal of that trend for the time being. This may be the result of the appearance of Section 4.3 in the WCMSA Reference Guide in 2022, in which CMS speaks about “non-submit” or “evidence-based” MSA programs, describing them as “a potential attempt to shift financial burden”.

Proposed vs Recommended
Those who decided to voluntarily submit their proposed WCMSA to CMS for review were rewarded with recommendations that were, all told, 22.95% percent higher than the proposed amount. For comparison, the average percentage difference between the submitter’s proposed MSA and CMS’ recommended MSA for CMS’ FY 2020 through FY 2022 was 13.9%. This is an increase of roughly 65% in CMS’ FY 2023 versus the prior three years’ average. Not only is the counter percentage higher, but the total recommended amount is higher. So, it’s not as if submitters have been lowballing their submissions. For those who embraced a non-submit program for fear of significantly higher MSA counters, CMS dangled no carrots in FY 2023 to encourage a return to voluntary submission.

Proposed MSAs and Total Settlement Amounts
WCMSAs submitted by the industry have, on average, consistently ranged between a proposed amount of $70,439 and $74,847 between CMS’ FY 2020 and FY 2023. Total Settlements utilizing WCMSAs over the same period have averaged between $159,579 and $171,170. Accordingly, WCMSAs constitute around 43% of the total settlement amount in which they are included (pre-CMS recommendation).

Medical vs Rx
Medical expenses with MSAs have increased steadily in recent years and CMS’ FY 2023 is no exception. CMS’ recommended total for the medical portion of submitted WCMSAs is up 13% since 2020. Conversely, Rx expenses have declined by 33%. While several factors are likely to be at play here, CMS’ use of sometimes aggressive NDCs to price drugs may be one culprit. Medivest consistently sees submitted MSAs priced using drug NDCs unavailable in the actual market, and well below market average.

The Big Question

These are statistics from those WCMSA’s submitted for approval, meaning they were written by industry-trained professionals in an attempt to match CMS’ recommended methodology. If the industry is consistent, what has changed at CMS? Also, what does this say about CMS’s position concerning non-submitted WCMSA’s that were written to Evidence-Based Medicine or other non-submit standards in light of the previously modified Section 4.3 of the WCMSA Reference Guide?

For Additional Information

Medivest will continue to monitor changes occurring at CMS and will keep its readers up to date when such changes are announced. For questions, feel free to reach out to the Medivest representative in your area by clicking here or call us directly at 877.725.2467.


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24/Oct/2023

Last year, Medivest wrote about the importance of protecting your client’s government benefits during the settlement process. The full blog can be read here, but to quickly summarize:

If settlement proceeds are handled incorrectly, eligibility for government benefits may be jeopardized. Depending on the eligibility criteria of the specific benefit program, different planning solutions and courses of action should be considered to help the injured party maintain their benefit eligibility. 

However, attorneys need to be aware of another potential risk for their clients’ means-tested benefits. If your client is fundraising to cover the cost of their medical bills and/or services and equipment that insurance does not cover, they could potentially lose their government benefits, particularly Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) before the settlement has even begun.

How Benefits Become Endangered

Because the settlement process is often a slow one, crowdfunding services such as GoFundMe have become an increasingly common way for injured parties to cover their medical expenses. When someone engages in fundraising and receives donations or contributions, it can increase their income and assets, potentially pushing their financial situation above the eligibility threshold for these government benefits. Here is how it can happen:

    1. Income Increase: Fundraising often involves receiving money or valuable items as donations from friends, family, or the community. This additional income can be considered when determining eligibility for means-based benefits. The increase in income may exceed the allowable limits set by the government program.
    1. Asset Accumulation: In some cases, fundraising can lead to an accumulation of assets or resources, such as savings accounts, stocks, or valuable items. These assets can also be taken into account when determining eligibility for government benefits, as they may exceed the allowed asset thresholds.
    1. Reduced Benefit Amounts: If a person’s income or assets exceed the program’s limits, they may no longer qualify for certain government benefits, or their benefit amount may be reduced. This can result in a loss of crucial financial support, including healthcare coverage, food assistance, or cash benefits.
    1. Reapplication and Reporting Requirements: Individuals receiving means-based benefits are typically required to report any changes in their financial situation promptly. Failure to report increased income or assets from fundraising can result in legal consequences, including the requirement to repay benefits received improperly.
    1. Loss of Eligibility: In some cases, if an individual’s income or assets exceed the program’s limits, they may become ineligible for benefits altogether. This can lead to financial hardship for the person and their family, as they may have been relying on these benefits to meet their basic needs.

 

This does not mean fundraising should be avoided by an injured party. It simply means it should be done carefully and with consultation. Setting up a special needs trust or ABLE account is a good practice, but most clients (and some attorneys) would need outside professional assistance setting one up. However, for plaintiffs in the early stages of settlement, a new charity called The Plaintiff Fund may provide an effective additional option.

The Plaintiff Fund

Beginning in January of 2024, the Plaintiff Fund will provide plaintiffs support in creating a medical fundraising campaign, with $1,000 toward their medical expenses, and a national resource network of medical service and product providers. So not only are plaintiffs able to get a partner experienced with fundraising and a start-up donation, but they also get peace of mind knowing their government benefits will remain intact.

Even after settlement is completed, some plaintiffs may learn that their medical bills and expenses exceed the future medicals portion of their settlement. The Plaintiff Fund is available for those individuals as well and is a great support tool for attorneys to offer their client after the case is completed.

The Plaintiff Fund will be invaluable to many plaintiffs. We at Medivest are proud to support it! Everyone who supports plaintiffs should get involved! For further information about the Plaintiff Fund or to make a donation to their cause, visit them at website. For additional services to stretch and protect the medical portion of your clients’ settlement, such as Professional Medicare Set-Aside Administration, contact Medivest here.


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19/Oct/2023

CMS will be hosting a Section 111 Workers’ Compensation Reporting Webinar on Monday November 13, 2023 applicable to all primary plans considered Non-Group Health Plans (NGHP) including Liability Insurance (including Self-Insurance), No-Fault Insurance and Workers’ Compensation. Section 111 is also known as Mandatory Insurance Reporting and CMS will be focus its webinar on the expansion of Section 111 Non-Group Health Plan (NGHP) Total Payment Obligation to Claimant (TPOC) reporting to include Workers’ Compensation Medicare Set-Aside (WCMSA) information.

As usual, the format will include opening remarks and then a presentation by CMS that will include background and timelines, followed by a question-and-answer session. CMS has indicated that “because this expansion impacts reporting of WCMSAs, it is strongly recommended that Responsible Reporting Entities (RREs) who report Workers’ Compensation settlements attend.”


 

Date:  November 13, 2023
Time:  1:00 PM ET

Webinar Link: htps://cms.zoomgov.com/j/1606789743?pwd=VzZ0Uk96ZWs1NUUvbm5xUnpJU2l4Zz09

Passcode: 100553

Or to connect via phone:

Conference Dial In: 1-833-568-8864
Conference Passcode: 160 678 9743

Due to the number of expected participants, please log in at least 10 minutes prior to the start of the presentation.


 

Additional information about recent updates from CMS can be found here. If you have questions on how topics discussed in this webinar may affect your clients, please contact Medivest here or call us at 877.725.2467.


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14/Sep/2023

On September 13th 2023, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced an upcoming increase to the maximum settlement amount for the Fixed Percentage Demand Calculation Option.

When settling a liability or workers’ compensation case, a beneficiary, or their attorney (or other representative) may request that Medicare’s demand amount be calculated using the Fixed Percentage Option. Currently the total settlement amount for the Fixed Percentage Option cannot exceed $5,000. Effective October 2, 2023, the maximum settlement amount will be raised to $10,000.

What is the Fixed Percentage Option?

The Fixed Percentage Option offers a simple, straightforward process to obtain the amount due to Medicare. It eliminates time and resources typically associated with the Medicare Secondary Payer (MSP) recovery process since you will not have to wait for Medicare to determine the conditional payment amount prior to settlement. The Fixed Percentage Option may be elected, if the following eligibility criteria are met:

      • The liability insurance (including self-insurance) settlement, judgment, award or other payment is related to an alleged physical trauma- based incident and;
      • The total settlement is for $5,000 (Note this amount will be raised to $10,000, effective October 2, 2023) or less.
      • You elect the option within the required timeframe and Medicare has not issued a demand letter or other request for reimbursement related to the incident.
      • You have not received and do not expect to receive any other settlements, judgments, awards, or other payments related to the incident.

For More Information

For additional information on the Fixed Percentage Option, please see the Fixed Percentage Option Presentation and the Fixed Percentage Model Language at CMS.Gov and consult the Downloads Section. To learn more about protecting the medical portion of your clients’ workers’ compensation and liability settlements, contact Medivest about Medicare Set-Aside Professional Administration.


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22/May/2023

On Tuesday, June 6th, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will be hosting a webinar regarding the upcoming implementation of the Section 111 NGHP Unsolicited Response File option. The full notice can be read below:

 


 

Section 111 Non-Group Health Plan (NGHP) Unsolicited Response File Webinar Tuesday June 6, 2023

Mandatory Reporting for Liability Insurance (including Self-Insurance), No-Fault Insurance and Workers’ Compensation

CMS will be hosting a webinar regarding the upcoming implementation of the Section 111 NGHP Unsolicited Response File option. The format will be opening remarks by CMS, a presentation that will include background as well as how to opt in and what to expect, followed by a question and answer session. For questions regarding this topic, prior to the webinar, please utilize the Section 111 Resource Mailbox PL110- 173SEC111-comments@cms.hhs.gov.

Date:                                 June 6, 2023
Time:                                 1:00 PM ET

Webinar Link: https://cms.zoomgov.com/j/1601170809?pwd=YU1YN3BGYjhKWTNBR3AyT3o4emFWQT09

Passcode:                          558113

Or to connect via phone

Conference Dial In:           1-833-568-8864
Conference Passcode:     160 117 0809

Due to the number of expected participants please log in at least 10 minutes prior to the start of the presentation.


 

Additional information about recent updates from CMS can be found here. If you have questions on how topics discussed in this webinar may affect your clients, please contact Medivest here or call us at 877.725.2467.

 


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10/May/2023

On March 24, 2023, Governor Ron DeSantis signed House Bill 837 into law ushering in the most significant tort reform the state of Florida has seen in decades. The new legislation took effect immediately upon signing and will have a huge impact on the judicial system, particularly for personal injury cases against those at fault regardless of whether insured and in lawsuits directly against insurance companies when there are allegations of Bad Faith.

According to Governor Ron DeSantis, “Florida has been considered a judicial hellhole for far too long and we are desperately in need of legal reform that brings us more in line with the rest of the country. I am proud to sign this legislation to protect Floridians, safeguard our economy and attract more investment in our state.

A Brief Summary

To read the new law in full detail click here. Some of the major highlights of the HB 837 that will have the most impact are as follows:

Modified Comparative Negligence Framework

Florida has in the past been a pure Comparative Negligence state so even if an injured party were more than 50% at fault for their injuries, they could make a claim for damages for the percentage of fault caused by a third party.  Plaintiffs will now be barred from recovery if they are more than 50% at fault for their injuries. This change does not apply to actions based on medical negligence.

Two Year Negligence Statute of Limitations

The Statute of Limitations in negligence actions will cut the current statute in half. Claimants will now have two years from the time the cause of action accrues to file suit.

 Limiting Bad Faith Lawsuits Against Insurers

The new law states mere negligence alone is insufficient to constitute bad faith in both statutory and common-law actions against an insurer. It also mandates the claimant and the claimant’s attorney to act in good faith when furnishing information regarding the claim, issuing demands, setting deadlines, and attempting to settle.

Attorney-Client Privilege for Treating Physicians

The referral and financial relationships between the plaintiff’s personal injury firms and the treating physicians will no longer be protected under attorney-client privilege.

Standards of Admissibility of Medical Evidence

HB 837 changes what constitutes admissible evidence in establishing past, present and future medical expenses. Going forward, the admissibility of evidence at trial of past medical treatment is limited to the amount actually paid to medical providers regardless of the source of payment (health insurance provider, workers’ compensation insurance carrier, etc.). Additionally, evidence offered to prove the amount necessary to satisfy unpaid charges will be limited to how much the claimant is obligated to pay if the claimant has health care coverage other than Medicare or Medicaid.

Regarding Attorney Fees

HB 837 eliminates multipliers for attorney fees with a presumption that the newly enacted Lodestar method is sufficient and reasonable. Additionally, many of the statutes that provide for one-way attorney’s fees in actions involving insurers have been repealed.

Presumption Against Liability of Property Owners

A new section of the Florida Statutes has been created with a presumption against liability for owners and operators of multifamily residential property in cases based on criminal acts upon the premises by third parties.

Questions About Your Liability Case?

Medivest offers a full suite of settlement solutions that address MSP exposure and protect Medicare’s interests in a liability settlement. For a free case consultation, click here and one of our settlement consultants will assist you.

 


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