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CLASSIC LIST

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26/Feb/2024

On Friday, February 23, 2024, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published an alert regarding the upcoming change to Section 111 reporting to include Workers’ Compensation Medicare Set-Aside (WCMSA) amounts for Workers’ Compensation settlements meeting the $750 threshold regardless of whether the WCMSA was submitted to CMS for approval or not.

“All MSA funding for WC settlements shall be reported regardless of whether or not an approval was previously sought from the CMS. This change will be prospective for the Total Payment Obligation to Claimant (TPOC)s on or after the implementation date. For example, records submitted on a production file with a TPOC date on or after April 4, 2025, will be subject to the new edits.”

Please note that testing of the new fields will be available as early as October 7, 2024. The full alert is available at in the Download section of the NGHP Alerts page here.

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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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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31/Jan/2024

The January 18th, 2024 webinar hosted by Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) entitled Medicare Secondary Payer and Certain Civil Money Penalties (Non-Group Health Plan) is now available in the Download section of the What’s New page on CMS.gov. The webinar can be viewed in its entirety, or you may download the materials covered in PDF format by clicking here.   

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 regarding the information presented in this webinar or any other recent CMS updates, please 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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22/Jan/2024

On January 10, 2024, the U.S. Department of Labor published a final rule, revising its guidance to employers and workers to help determine if a worker qualifies as an employee or an independent contractor (IC) under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  The final ruling explains that the economic reality test is comprised of six-factors that are a guide to conduct the totality-of-the circumstances analysis to determine economic dependence. The new ruling takes effect March 11, 2024. To view the final ruling, click here.  

Misclassification Issues 

Employers need to distinguish between employees and independent contractors when considering eligibility for workers’ compensation. Correctly distinguishing between employees and independent contractors is crucial for legal compliance, cost management, liability avoidance, and ensuring workers receive the appropriate benefits and protections. Misclassification can have significant financial and legal consequences for employers. 

What is the Economic Realities Test?  

The US Department of Labor uses an economic realities test to help employers comply with the law, reduce the risk of employee misclassification, and to help determine if a worker is classified as an independent contractor or as an employee. This test consists of six-factors that are all weighed against each other. All factors should be considered.  No single factor determines a worker’s status.  No one factor or combination of factors is more important than the other factors.  This test considers the totality of the circumstances of the working relationship. Below are the six (6) factors. 

  1. Opportunity for profit or loss depending on managerial skill, 
  2. Investments by the worker and the employer, 
  3. Permanence of the work relationship, 
  4. Nature and degree of control, 
  5. Whether the work performed is integral to the employer’s business  
  6. Skill and initiative 

About Medivest 

Since 1996 Medivest has been helping our clients navigate the complexities of MSP compliance.  We offer settlement solutions for workers’ compensation and liability settlements. Count on Medivest to help keep you up to date with the constant updates regarding Federal Register rulings, Medicare Secondary Payer legislation and changes related to CMS’s enforcement of the Medicare Secondary Payer.  For questions, feel free to reach out to a 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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08/Jan/2024

It is getting close to that time of year when mailboxes begin to receive W-2 statements and 1099-INT statements.  If an injured individual has either a Self-Administered Medicare Set-Aside (MSA) account or a Professionally-Administered MSA account, the individual will be sent a 1099-INT by January 31st and a copy will be filed with the IRS. The 1099-INT shows interest earned in the account during the previous tax year.
Liability and Workers Compensations cases should follow the Workers Compensation Medicare Set-Aside (WCMSA)Reference Guide, until CMS publishes a Liability Medicare Set-Aside (LMSA) Reference Guide.  Until then, the WCMSA Reference Guide should be considered a single point of reference for Liability and Workers Compensation cases. To download the WCMSA Reference Guide Version 3.8, Dated November 14, 2022, click here.

 

What the WCMSA Reference Guide states:

  • MSA funds must be placed in an interest-bearing account that is separate from the individual’s personal savings and checking accounts.
  • The interest must be deposited into the MSA account to be used for MSA-covered expenses.
  • You can use the MSA account to pay for the income tax on the interest income.
For further clarification regarding how the individual can pay for the taxes from the interest incomed earned in their account, refer to the CMS Memo Dated July 11, 2005, Subject:  Medicare Secondary Payer (MPS) – Workers’ Compensation (WC) Additional Frequency Asked Questions.
“Q6. Treatment of Taxable Interest Income Earned on a WCMSA – If I receive a Form 1099-INT for the interest income earned on my WCMSA account, may I charge the income tax on that amount against the WCMSA?
A6. Assuming that there is adequate documentation for the amount of incremental tax that the claimant must pay for the interest earned on this set-aside account, the claimant or his/her administrator may withdraw an amount equal to the additional tax as a “cost that is directly related to the account” to cover the additional tax liability. Such documentation should be submitted along with the annual accounting.”

 

How Medivest Handles the 1099-INT:

Medivest will advise the Member to prepare his/her tax return two ways to determine the increased income tax burden, if any:
  1. Include the MSA interest income in the income tax return
  2. Exclude the MSA interest income in the income tax return
In other words, if the Member must pay the IRS an increased income tax amount as a result of the interest earned from their MSA account, the additional income tax burden can be paid from the MSA account.  This is considered a cost associated with having the MSA account and CMS allows this expense to be paid from the MSA account.  Once a year, Medivest will send CMS an attestation for every applicable professionally-administered MSA account.  Any MSA reimbursement of the additional income tax burden will be included in this attestation.

 

Answers to Common Questions

Question 1.  If I am taxed on the earned interest, why can’t I have it?
Answer 1.  CMS’ guidelines state that Medicare Set-Aside funds place must be placed into an interest-bearing account and are to be used for covered medical expenses.
Question 2.  Why do I have to report the earned interest to the IRS?
Answer 2.   Per IRS guidelines, all interest income is taxable, unless specifically excluded.
Question 3.  Isn’t my injury settlement tax-exempt?
Answer 3.  Any compensation you receive from a settlement because of physical injuries or sickness is not taxable.   However, the interest earned after the settlement occurs is taxable.

 

Best Practices

Medivest’s highly trained representatives can help you figure out if Medicare may have an interest in your settlement. We assist all settling parties to navigate the MSP complexities and provide you with cost-saving strategies for your settlement. For questions about your account or setting up a new professional administration account please contact us here.

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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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20/Dec/2023

You have settled your injury case and have decided to self-administer your Medicare set-aside (MSA) arrangement. Whether you are just beginning to embark on this journey or if you have been self-administering your account for a while and need a refresher, here are a few tips you should know. These tips can help you navigate through this complicated process. They will ensure that you won’t jeopardize your Medicare benefits, help you preserve your MSA funds so they will be there when you need them the most, and will help you prepare to administer your MSA throughout 2024 and beyond.  

 

Helpful Self-Administration Tips:  

Set Up your MSA Correctly

  • Know how your Medicare Set-Aside account will be funded. There are two ways to fund MSA account either with a lump-sum payment or a structured annuity. If your settlement says that it will be funded as a lump sum, one check will be issued. Or, if your settlement says that it will be funded with a structured annuity, then an initial deposit is made to establish the account, followed by annual deposits.  
  • Open a separate bank account to deposit your MSA funds. Do not co-mingle your MSA funds with your personal funds.   
  • Deposit your MSA funds into an interest-bearing bank account, insured by FDIC.  
  • It is recommended to find a bank that does not charge fees when you have a low balance and preferably to find an account that you could write checks on.  

 

Learn the Process and Develop Good Habits Now

  • Keep your settlement paperwork in a safe place.  
  • Know your date of settlement. Any expense that is injury related, Medicare covered, and has occurred after the date of settlement can be paid out of your Self-Administered Medicare Set-Aside account.  
  • Only use the MSA funds from your account to pay for Medicare covered medical treatment and prescription costs related to your injury, even if you are not yet enrolled in Medicare.  
  • Keep accurate records of the expenses you’ve paid out of your account. You will not submit these records annually, but Medicare may request these records as proof that you are using the account correctly.    
    • Transaction date 
    • Check number (if any, or transaction number if present) 
    • “Payable to” or health care provider name  
    • Date of service 
    • Description (procedure, service, or item received; deposit; interest; other allowable expense) 
    • Amount paid 
    • Any deposit amount 
    • Account balance 
    • Keep itemized receipts 
    • Banks statements 
    • Tax records 
  • You will need to send an annual attestation form every year to Medicare, no later than 30 days after the anniversary date of your Workers Compensation settlement regarding funds remaining in the account after expenses have been paid.  

 

Know What Expenses Your MSA Covers

  • MSA account can be used to pay for the following: 
    • Cost of copying documents 
    • Mailing fees/postage 
    • Any banking fees related to the account 
    • Income tax on interest income from the account
  • You may not use the MSA account to pay for:  
    • Fees for trustees, custodians, or other professionals hired to help administer the account 
    • Expenses for administration of the MSA (other than those listed above) 
    • Attorney costs for establishing the MSA 
    • Medicare premiums, co-payments and deductibles

 

What to Do When Your MSA is Exhausted or Depleted

  • If you are a Medicare beneficiary and your funds have been depleted, you can forward your bills to Medicare for payment as long as the expense is Medicare covered and injury related. 
  • If you are not Medicare covered and your funds have been depleted, you will need to coordinate benefits with your other health insurance providers or pay out of pocket. 
  • When your account is permanently exhausted or depleted, which means there is no money left in the account and there will be no future deposits, you will need to submit within 60 days of the date your account is depleted a final attestation letter stating the account is ‘completely exhausted’.    
  • Notify Medicare’s Benefits Coordination & Recovery Center (BCRC) if death has occurred before the WCMSA is permanently exhausted.   
  • If you lose your Medicare entitlement, you are not entitled to release the MSA funds. 

 

What Happens it Self-Administering is Too Difficult?

If learning how to self-administer your MSA on your own is too difficult to navigate, contact Medivest to learn more about our Self-Administration Kit with assistance. Or, if you’re interested in a more hands-off solution, Medivest Professional Administration Services can remove potential risks and the cumbersome tasks associated with administrating your Medicare Set-Aside funds, and in most cases can even stretch the lifespan of a MSA. Please call us at 877.725.2467 or reach out to us here. 


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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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