CMS Releases Annual Report on CRC Conditional Payment Recovery

On 8/30/2017 the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released its annual report on the Commercial Repayment Center’s (CRC) Medicare conditional payment collections for the 2016 fiscal year (10/1/2015 through 9/30/2016). In short, the report documents the CRC identified $243.68 million in conditional payments, collected a net of $106.29 million and returned $88.35 million to the Medicare Trust Fund after subtracting collections costs.

The CRC, which is paid on a contingency basis, has responsibility for Medicare conditional payment recovery efforts involving Group Health Plans and Non-Group Health Plans (NGHP). NGHPs are liability insurance (including self-insurance, no-fault insurance or workers’ compensation). FY 2016 was the first fiscal year in which the CRC had responsibility for recovery of conditional payments from NGHPs, a task previously handled by the Benefits Coordination and Recovery Center (BCRC). Recovery claims involving Medicare beneficiaries remain with the BCRC.

A copy of the report may be found on the CMS website here.

Some observations from the report:

  • CMS does not split out GHP and NGHP recovery information which makes it difficult to ascertain, one, the effect of adding NGHPs to the CRC’s responsibility has had on overall collections and, two, the percentage of overall collections attributable to GHPs versus NGHPs.
  • Despite identifying $243.68 million on conditional payments, the CRC only recovered $117.40 million, shortly under half (48%) of the identified amounts. This may be the result of the provided data only documenting debts that are identified and collected within the fiscal year. The report indicates that collection of FY 2016 identified debts continues into the next fiscal year.
  • Connected to the above observation, it is disappointing that the CRC does not provide a more comprehensive multi-year view of its recovery work. Information such as amounts recovered over the past several years, average turnaround time from demand to repayment, and the above-mentioned GHP vs. NGHP data would be invaluable to understanding the overall program.
  • Provided in the report is a statement indicating amounts returned to the Medicare Trust Fund dropped from $125.05 million in FY 2015 to $88.35 million in FY 2016. CMS attributes the drop to “a decrease in GHP recoveries due in part to the maturity of the mandatory insurer reporting under Section 111 of the Medicare, Medicaid, and SCHIP Extension Act of 2007 decreasing the instances of mistaken payments, as well as the CRC’s resolution of pending available recoveries.” This drop is nonetheless surprising given that FY 2016 marked the CRC’s first year recovering from NGHPs!

Takeaways

We do not recommend any changes to your Medicare conditional payment resolution program or process based upon the report. The report merely provides a window into the efforts by the CRC at recovering conditional payments from GHPs and NGHPs.

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