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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Congress Told CMS Must Continue to Stop Work Comp Cost Shifting

At a House Oversight hearing today it was revealed that over the last decade the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service (CMS) has obtained over $50 Billion in reimbursement under the Medicare Secondary Payer Act (MSP). CMS has worked diligently to stop cost shifting from workers' compensation insurance carriers to the US taxpayer. 

Deborah Taylor, Chief Financial Officer and Director, Office of Financial Management Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, stated, "Any restrictions on existing MSP rights or recovery processes would adversely affect savings that would otherwise accrue to the Medicare Trust Funds through MSP recovery activities, as well as the $1 billion per year in cost-avoided savings that CMS is able to track. Proposals that would impose mandatory process changes may affect Medicare’s status as a secondary payer or its priority right of recovery, as well as CMS’ ability to prioritize its own workload. These changes may also have the unintended effect of undercutting the underlying intent of the statute, increasing costs, and reducing existing savings. " 

Ms. Taylor concluded by stating that, "...CMS is committed to a transparent MSP process that ensures that beneficiaries receive the care they need, while reducing Medicare payments for claims that are the legal responsibility of a group health plan, NGHP, or other responsible party. We understand that the MSP process can present challenges to all involved in coordination of benefits between Medicare and other payers. We are committed to maintaining a strong line of communication with beneficiaries, insurance and workers’ compensation plans, and other stakeholders on MSP policy in general, as well as the new Section 111 reporting requirements. Additionally, we will look to expand and strengthen our training and education opportunities where possible. CMS looks forward to working with our partners and beneficiaries in the future to preserve the integrity of the Medicare program and secure the Medicare Trust Funds for future generations. We look forward to working with Congress as well on these important goals."

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