Tuesday, February 9, 2010

From Feb. 4, 2010 TTLA Webinar - Medicare Compliance Concerns

I enjoyed your informative seminar on Medicare. However; I was not able to get in a question but would appreciate if you could give me your thoughts. Your seminar and materials I have seen from your firm talk about dealing with Medicare through the MSPRC or CMS. We have received a subrogation and/or reimbursement interest letter from INGENIX on behalf of AARP MEDICARECOMPLETE PLUS that they are entitled to the same treatment and rights as Medicare. Is that true? Thanks.

Virginia Attorney

Thanks for your question and your kind words. It was my pleasure to attempt to present some clarity with respect to the Medicare compliance questions. Health plans such as AARPMEDICARE COMPLETE PLUS plans are Medicare Part C plans. Although these plans often try to assert the same recovery rights as traditional Medicare Part A or B, Medicare Part C plans, for subrogation purposes, are treated akin to a private plan rather than traditional Medicare. That is because Medicare Part C is not covered within the meaning of the MSP statute (42 U.S.C. 1395y(b)). A very good summary of the laws that do apply to Medicare Part C is contained in the (attachment - click here) U.S. District Court’s ruling in Primax Recoveries v. Yarmosh (U.S.D.C. D. Ct Case No. 3:03CV01931), in which the Court holds that Medicare HMOs are not able to imply a private cause of action to recover funds paid under such plans (through bootstrapping the MSP statute). Instead, the Court held that there is no private cause of action for a Medicare+ Choice HMO (Part C) under the Medicare Part C statute (42 U.S.C. 1395mm(e)(4). Rather, the Court found the HMO’s remedy, if any, is under state contract law. Id., 790; see also Nott v. Aetna U.S. Healthcare, Inc., 303 F. Supp. 2d 565 (E.D. Pa. 2004).

To that end, one must look to the actual plan language itself to determine the plan’s reimbursement rights. Depending on the plan language (which could be strong or weak), the plan may have a right of reimbursement or it may not have a right of reimbursement. Thus, it becomes imperative to review the plan language as opposed to lumping Medicare Part C plans in with traditional Medicare when it comes to reimbursing for injury-related care.

I have copied John Cattie and Michael Russell on this email, each of whom works with me in addressing these issues. Should you have any further questions of John, Michael and/or me, please do not hesitate to ask.

Our best,
Sylvius von Saucken