Civil Monetary Penalty Proposed Regulations Are Here

The Medicare Secondary Payer law rendering a potential $1,000 per day penalty for noncompliance against primary payers has finally been demystified to some extent. The proposed regulation issuing guidance about Medicare Secondary Payer Civil Monetary Penalties relative to Section 111 reporting was unofficially disseminated on February 13, 2020, and the full text can be found here. The official document is scheduled to be published in the Federal Register on 2/18/2020 and available online at https://federalregister.gov/d/2020-03069.

By way of history, this rule has been in progress since 2013, pursuant to the Strengthening Medicare and Repaying Taxpayers Act (SMART Act) of 2012, which amended the Medicare, Medicaid and SCHIP Extension Act of 2007. The 2007 law rocked the industry by calling for mandatory penalties against NGHP primary payers of $1,000 per day per claimant for failure to properly report Section 111 data to Medicare. The SMART Act softened this, making the penalty discretionary rather than mandatory. The details of what would constitute a full penalty, diminished penalty and/or safe harbor from Civil Monetary Penalties have not been promulgated by the Agency until now. As of this date, no penalties have been assessed against NGHP primary payers. Having a rule in place could change this.

With 44 pages in all, there is a great deal of content within the proposed rule, the highlights of which are summarized below. As always, the Gordon & Rees Medicare Compliance Group will issue an Official Comment to this proposed rule. We will accept client feedback regarding this rule, through April 15, 2020, as Official Comments which must be received no later than 60 days from the date of official publication.

If more information is needed and/or you have questions about how this may impact your business please contact us at Section111 Reporting Section111Reporting@grsm.com.

Highlights:

• The regulation outlines proposed specific criteria for when CMPs would not be imposed, in circumstances when a NGHP entity fails to comply (either on its own or through a reporting agent) with Section 111 reporting guidelines.
• CMPs will be levied in addition to any MSP conditional payment reimbursement obligations.
• The rule is prospective and CMS will evaluate compliance based only upon files submitted by the RRE on or after the effective date of the final rule.
• There will be a formal appeal process for RREs if they disagree with the CMPs assessed against them.

CMS generally identified three categories of CMPs:

  • Failure to report
  • Submitting responses to recovery efforts contradicting reporting
  • Submitting records with errors that exceed CMS’s error tolerance threshold
    Statute of Limitations:
  • CMS may only impose a CMP within 5 years from the date when the non-compliance was identified by CMS. The regulation outlines specifically how this will be calculated for each of the three proposed types of CMPs.
    • If an RRE fails to report within the required timeframe (no more than 1 year from the TPOC date), the penalty would be calculated on a daily basis, based on the actual number of individual beneficiaries’ records that the entity submitted untimely.
    TPOC Reporting:
  • Penalty would be up to $1,000 (as adjusted annually for inflation based on 42 CFR part 102) for each calendar day of noncompliance for each individual, as counted from the day after the last day of the RRE’s assigned reporting window where the information should have been submitted, through the day that CMS received the information, up to a maximum penalty of $365K per individual per year.
    ORM Reporting:
  • If an RRE fails to report an ORM termination date, the penalty would be calculated based on the number of calendar days that the entity failed to report updates to the record. The penalty would be up to $1,000 (as adjusted annually for inflation) per calendar day of noncompliance for each individual, for a max annual penalty of $365K per year.
  • Please note, while most of the penalties listed are prospective, the ORM termination reporting is retroactive if not terminated properly.
    CMPs Will be Imposed for the Following Errors:
  • If the RRE exceeds any error tolerance(s) threshold in any 4 out of 8 consecutive reporting periods.
  • The initial and maximum error tolerance threshold would be 20% (representing errors that prevent 20% or more of the beneficiary records from being processed).
  • CMS intends for this tolerance to be applied as an absolute percentage of the records submitted in a given reporting cycle.
  • CMS will maintain current notification process where RREs receive notice via response file and direct outreach (email and, in more serious cases, telephone calls) when there are errors with their file submissions.
  • An RRE is out of compliance for the entire reporting period when the RRE exceeds the error tolerance threshold. (90 calendar days equals one reporting quarter)
  • CMS is proposing a maximum 20 percent per file submission error tolerance. The errors that would be used to determine whether the error tolerance is met shall be defined by CMS 6 months prior to imposition of any CMPs.
  • CMPs would be imposed on a tiered approach if the RRE exceeded the error tolerance(s) in the entity’s fourth above-tolerance submission. Penalties and calculation percentages are outlined in detail within the regulation; however, we have included the chart below directly from the regulation that summarizes the tiered penalty approach CMS is proposing. For a more detailed discussion of this, please reference the proposed regulation itself.
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No CMP will be imposed in the following circumstances where all applicable conditions are met:

  1. If you report a claim timely; and
  2. Comply with TPOC reporting thresholds and any other reporting exclusions; and
  3. Don’t exceed any error tolerances in any 4 out of 8 consecutive reporting periods; and
  4. If the RRE fails to report required information because they were unable to obtain the necessary information from the beneficiary following a good faith effort to obtain this information which is defined in the regulation as communicating the need for the information twice by mail and at least once by phone or electronic communication. The RRE should maintain these records for a period of 5 years.

Disclaimer: Please note, this article is intended to be a high-level summary of the proposed regulation and is not intended to be an exhaustive review of every detail and requirement contained within the text of the proposed regulation. We will be providing a Webinar Series to discuss the fine details, business implications and best practices surrounding Section 111 Mandatory Insurer Reporting for NGHPs.

Let us know if you want to schedule a meeting to discuss in detail how this rule impacts your business.

Section 111 Mandatory Insurer Civil Monetary Penalties: CMS Announces an Update to the Issue Date for Proposed Rulemaking

CMS has recently announced that it has pushed back the proposed rulemaking and public comment solicitation period for assessment of civil monetary penalties for noncompliance with the Section 111 Mandatory Insurer Reporting guidelines to October 2019.

The Medicare Secondary Payer Act (MSPA) provides for civil monetary penalties to be assessed for noncompliance with the Section 111 Mandatory Insurer Reporting requirements. Specifically, 42 USC 1395y(b)(8) provides that a civil monetary penalty (CMP) of $1,000 per day per claim shall be assessed for noncompliance. Subsequently, the SMART Act clarified this provision to indicate that any such penalty shall be discretionary, and penalties of up to $1,000 per day per claim may be assessed for noncompliance. However, prior to assessing any CMPs to a Responsible Reporting Entity, we will first need regulations in place outlining exactly what constitutes noncompliance as well as the criteria for which penalties will and will not be assessed.

CMS has announced its intent to issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in order to propose the criteria for which CMPs will and will not be assessed. The full announcement can be found here. Clarification regarding Section 111 CMPs is something that this industry has been awaiting for quite some time. This announcement extends the original timeline published by CMS on this topic. Earlier this year, a similar announcement indicated that this rulemaking and comment period would open in September 2019. That timeline has now been pushed back one month.

While the date listed for the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is now October 2019, and it will no doubt take some time before any recovery audits are started and any CMPs are assessed, this notice makes it clear that Section 111 reporting penalties are in the pipeline. With that said, ensuring that your claim data is compliant with the Section 111 requirements can also take a considerable amount of time. We at Gordon & Rees have extensive experience in running Section 111 reporting programs for all types of carriers and self-insured entities, as well as performing full internal audits of Responsible Reporting Entities’ claim data to ensure full compliance with the Section 111 reporting guidelines.

Please keep an eye out in the coming weeks for a comprehensive webinar by the Gordon & Rees Section 111 Reporting team discussing how to get compliant with the Section 111 Mandatory Insurer Reporting requirements, how to perform an internal audit, and the most up-to-date information regarding the coming civil monetary penalties.

Gordon & Rees will continue to monitor all activity regarding Section 111 CMPs as it develops. For any questions or concerns regarding Section 111 reporting penalties or Medicare Secondary Payer compliance in general, please contact us at CMSReporting@grsm.com.

CMS Issues updated Section 111 NGHP User Guide

As of January 4, 2019, CMS has issued an updated version of the MMSEA Section 111 NGHP User Guide. While version 5.5 of the User Guide has few changes, there are some noteworthy additions. The changes made to the latest version of the User Guide are as follows:

– Ch. III of the User Guide now clarifies that beginning January 1, 2019, the threshold for liability insurance settlements, judgments, awards, or other payments will remain at $750. CMS will also 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 is outlined in Section 6.4 of Ch. III and in short, simply restates the fact that the TPOC dollar thresholds remain at $750 for liability, no-fault, and workers’ compensation insurance.

– The definition of the ‘Funding Delayed Beyond TPOC Start Date 1’ data field has been updated. This definition can be found in line 82 of Table A-3 and states “If funding is determined after the settlement date (TPOC Date), provide actual or estimated date of funding determination.” The previous definition simply stated “If funding for the TPOC Amount is delayed, provide actual or estimated date of funding.” The same verbiage has been added to lines 95, 98, 101, and 104 of Table A-5 Auxiliary Record, updating the definition of this field for all possible additional TPOCs (TPOCs 2 – 5).

– Ch. IV of the User Guide also provides updated versions of the excluded ICD-9 and ICD-10 tables in order to match the excluded lists that are available through the Section 111 MRA application (https://www.cob.cms.hhs.gov/Section111). These tables can be found in Appendices I and J.

– Lastly, version 5.5 of the User Guide has been updated to only include information from the last four User Guide releases in order to reduce the number of version and revision history pages.

Each chapter of the Section 111 NGHP User Guide, version 5.5 can be downloaded here.

Should you have any questions regarding the above or need any Medicare compliance assistance, please do not hesitate to contact Gordon & Rees Medicare Compliance Group at mstockdale@grsm.com or 412-588-2277