Commercial Repayment Center (CRC) Transition Update:

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently held a webinar discussing the transition of the Commercial Repayment Center’s (CRC) operating contractor from CGI Federal to Performant Financial Corporation (Performant) for Group Health Plans and Non-Group Health Plans.

During the transition, there will be “dark days” where CRC will not be operating, but transferring files from CGI Federal to Performant.  These dark days begin on Friday, 2/9/2018 at 8 pm and end on Monday, 2/12/2018 at 8 am EST.  On 2/12/2018, Performant Financial Corporation will be operating the CRC.

Performant has provided two contacts for use with respect to the transition:

Ted Doyle – CRC Transition Project Director            Laura Martinez – MSP CRC NGHP Recovery Manager
(925) 337-5558                                                                  (209) 858-3705                             

Additionally, Performant has provided the following email to be used for claims with special needs:

Beginning 2/12/2018, all NGHP CRC correspondence and checks should be sent to:

Medicare Commercial Repayment Center – NGHP
PO BOX 269003
Oklahoma City, OK 73126

*New fax number (844) 315-7627

Fax Number: CRC’s current fax number will be disconnected on 2/6/2018 at 8 pm, the new number begins operation at 8 am on 2/12/2018.

Customer Service Line: telephone number stays the same (855) 798-2627. The phone line will be turned off at 8 pm on 2/9/2018.  Performant to begin its operation at 8 am on 2/12/2018.

All data is being “frozen” at the end of the day on 2/7/2018.  This means no new information or data will be uploaded onto the web portal or into CRC’s system until Performant starts entering the data on 2/12/2018 at 8 am.

All pending appeals will be transferred to Performant during the dark days, to assume handling.  The timeframe for response does not change and Performant requests the industry continue with their regular follow up time-frames.  (i.e. don’t call to see if an appeal with CGI was received by Performant).

Mail sent to the old CRC address will be forwarded to the new PO BOX, however, beginning 2/12/2018, the new PO BOX should be used.  If mail is sent to Performant before 2/12/2018, Performant will hold the mail and start processing beginning 2/12/2018 8 am.

Updated User Guide – Section 111 Non Group Health Plans, version 5.3:

A carrier or self-insured may have a responsibility to report to Medicare an Ongoing Responsibility of Medical (ORM) or a Total Payment Obligation to Claimant (TPOC) where there is a workers’ compensation or liability claim that involves a Medicare beneficiary. TPOCs usually are payments to a claimant after a settlement, judgment or award. These reporting requirements are commonly referred to as “Section 111” reporting.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) provide a Section 111 Medicare Secondary Payer Mandatory Reporting User Guide for Liability, No-Fault and Workers’ Compensation claims (user guide).  This user guide discusses how Medicare expects ORM or a TPOC to be reported to Medicare through Section 111 reporting.  CMS recently published an updated version of the user guide, numbered 5.3, and a link to the updated version can be found at CMS’ website or by clicking here.

For background, the user guide has five chapters: I – Intro and Overview, II – Registration, III – Policy, IV – Technical Information and  V – Appendices. The 5.3 version provided updates to the following areas of the user guide:

  • Overall: Medicare will begin to use the Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) in its correspondences and query responses to parties instead of a beneficiary’s Social Security Number (SSN) or Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN). MBIs are being issued to Medicare beneficiaries as a part of the discontinuation of social security number based HICNs.
  • Data exchange escalation contact protocol (Chapter I, Section 8.2 and Chapter IV, Section 13.2)
  • Termination of Ongoing Responsibility for Medical (ORM) (Chapter III, Section 6.3.2)
  • ICD-10 exclusions (Chapter V, Appendix I and J)

Regarding MBIs, CMS has excluded the Medicare Secondary Payer processes from requiring stakeholders to exclusive use of a MBI.  This means, a claimant’s SSN, HICN or MBI will be accepted by Medicare for entitlement queries and matching data for submission of documentation and disputes. However, the parties should be aware that Medicare’s response may use the MBI, if available.  More about the Social Security Number Initiative and MBIs can be found here.

The data exchange protocol has now been amended to exclude contacting a particular employee within BCRC.  If there is a data exchange issue, the Responsible Reporting Entity (RRE) is to first contact their Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) representative (or contact BCRC to obtain one). If there is no response from the EDI representative within two business days, the RRE should contact the EDI Director, Jeremy Farquhar.  If Mr. Farquhar does not response in one business day, the RRE should contact the BCRC Project Director, Jim Brady. The contact information for these two individuals is located in the user guide.

Section 6.3.2, ORM Termination, was added to the user guide to include additional explanation of when termination of ORM may occur. CMS advises that when ORM ends, the RRE should report the date ORM terminated and not delete the record.  Additionally, termination of ORM does not require the reporting of a Total Payment Obligation to Claimant (usually settlements).

In sum, CMS states that ORM termination should be submitted where ORM is not subject to reopening or additional request for payment of medicals and one of the following criteria is met:

  • Termination of ORM can be reported where there is “no practical likelihood of associated future medical treatment and the RRE maintains a statement (hard copy or electronic) signed by the beneficiary’s treating physician that no additional medical items and/or services associated with the claimed injuries will be required;
  • Where insurer’s responsibility for ORM is terminated under applicable state law associated with the insurance contract; or
  • Where the insurer’s responsibility for ORM has been terminated per the terms of the pertinent insurance contract, such as maximum coverage benefits.”

Although the concept of ORM is not new to the industry, this new section of the user guide highlights the importance of an RRE’s protocol to determine: (1) whether ORM needs to be reported; (2) If ORM does need to be reported, what conditions should be reported; and (3) whether termination of ORM should be submitted.

Lastly, CMS has issued a list of ICD10 and corresponding ICD9 codes that will not be accepted by BCRC for section 111 reporting.  A full list of the excluded codes may be found at Chapter V, Appendix I and J of the MMSEA Section 111 Medicare Secondary Payer Mandatory Reporting User Guide, version 5.3, 12/15/2017.

We will keep you posted on more updates to the Section 111 user guide, as they are available.

The Social Security Number Removal Initiative (SSNRI) is coming to a Claim near You:

Medicare has generally used a beneficiary’s social security number as a part of the beneficiary’s Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN). The HICN is used to match medical bills and records with a particular beneficiary and is located on a beneficiary’s Medicare card. In light of the privacy and security issues this creates, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will be phasing out its use of a Medicare beneficiary’s social security number/HICN in its outgoing correspondences and transition to a randomly generated Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI). This process is expected to be completed by CMS by December 21, 2019. Beginning in July 2017, Medicare will be replacing the term “HICN” with “Medicare ID” in its correspondence.

In January of 2018, Medicare states it will begin to assign a randomly generated MBI to Medicare beneficiaries nationwide.  From April 2018 to April 2019, CMS will mail an updated Medicare card with the MBI to beneficiaries. This means that a MBI may be used by Medicare in its correspondence related to conditional payment recovery, section 111 reporting and WCMSA determinations beginning April 2018.

With respect to Section 111 reporting, the SSNRI continues to allow Responsible Reporting Entities (RRE) to report their Non-Group Health Plan claims using partial social security number, full social security number, HICN number or Railroad Retirement Board Number.  After January 2020, however, the Section 111 reporter will also be able to provide a MBI as a means to identify a particular beneficiary.  Further, employers will still be able to use the Social Security Number to obtain the most current Medicare identifier. If an RRE updates its section 111 reporting and updates the HICN to the MBI, all future recovery correspondence from CMS will reflect the MBI.

However, correspondence related to a WCMSA proposal will reflect whatever beneficiary identifier was submitted in the WCMSA and a social security number will still be useable with the Medicare web portals of MSPRP, CRCP, WCMSAP if the MBI or HICN/RRB is not available. Additionally, U.S. Treasury Department correspondence will no longer contain HICN or MBI and use a recovery case ID. The changes with the U.S. Treasury correspondences are expected to occur before the end of 2017.

The change from using HICN to MBI is an enormous undertaking and will require CMS to assign 150 million MBIs.  CMS has issued some benchmark dates:

  • January 2018 – Activate MBI and Translation Services
  • April 2018 – April 2019 – Issue new Medicare cards to beneficiaries
  • April 2018 – December 2019 – CMS will accept and process both HICN and MBI
  • January 2020 – HICNs will no longer be exchanged (except in limited circumstances)

This change will require the MBI to be used by medical providers, group health carriers and many other stakeholders by January /2020.  Although RREs may not need to obtain an MBI in order to report a Non-Group Health Plan claim, stakeholders in Medicare and the Medicare compliance community will need to adapt their systems to accept this additional identifier by April 2018 and also recognize that soon a U.S. Treasury collection correspondence will no longer have the claimant’s HICN or MBI listed. This likely will require extra training, oversight and analysis by the employer, beneficiary or insurer when such correspondence is received.

We will keep you updated as this historic change by CMS unfolds.

CMS Posts Updated MMSEA Section 111 NGHP User Guide

CMS posted Version 5.1 of the MMSEA Section 111 Medicare Secondary Payer Mandatory NGHP Reporting User Guide on October 10, 2016. The updates simply clarified the available reference material that may be accessed through the online Section 111 Coordination of Benefits Secure Website (COBSW) Reference Materials menu post-log in by RRE. These clarifications appear in Chapters I, II and IV. No changes were made to Chapters III and V.

We will keep you advised of further updates.

CMS Continues Implementation of the SMART Act Provisions

The passage of the Strengthening Medicare and Repaying Taxpayers Act of 2012 (SMART Act) was expected to provide settling parties with easier access to conditional payment information. Although the implementation of the provisions has been an arduous process, CMS has made great strides towards this in 2015. CMS not only established a formal conditional payment appeal process for applicable plans, it also plans to transition a portion of the non-group health plan recovery workload to the Commercial Repayment Center in order to expedite conditional payment claims processing. This transition should occur in October of 2015.

CMS’ most recent accomplishment was announced on July 21, 2015 when CMS rolled out its Multi-factor Authentication (MFA) services for use on the Medicare Secondary Payer Recovery Portal (MSPRP). This service will now allow non-beneficiary users to access conditional payment information that was previously unavailable through the portal. Non-beneficiary users of the portal will need to complete the Identity Proofing and MFA process prior to viewing the more comprehensive conditional payment information.

Details regarding the new MFA process are outlined in CMS’ User Guides. We will continue to keep you advised of further developments as they arise.