United States: CMS Flags Potential Provider "Steering" Of Medicare/Medicaid Beneficiaries To Favorable ACA Marketplace Plans To Obtain Higher Rates

Last Updated: August 23 2016
Article by Debra A. McCurdy

CMS is putting health care providers on notice that it considers it "inappropriate" for providers to offer premium or cost-sharing assistance to Medicare or Medicaid beneficiaries in order to "steer" the patient to an individual market plan "for a provider's financial gain." In a request for information to be published on August 23, 2016, CMS cites anecdotal reports that some health care providers have determined that private plan rates are sufficiently high compared to Medicare or Medicaid reimbursement to allow a provider to pay a Medicare- or Medicaid-eligible patient's private insurance premiums and still benefit financially.

CMS has identified a series of potential problems with such arrangements, such as increased overall health system costs, harm to patient care and service coordination because of changes to provider networks and drug formularies, higher enrollee out-of-pocket costs, and negative impact on individual market risk pools. More specifically, CMS warns that individuals who are steered into an individual market plan for renal dialysis services and have a kidney transplant while enrolled in the private plan will not be eligible for Medicare Part B coverage of their immunosuppressant drugs if they later enroll in Medicare; in a sign of the agency's particular concern about this patient population, CMS has sent letters to all Medicare-enrolled dialysis facilities and centers informing them of the CMS notice.

CMS therefore is "strongly encouraging any provider or provider-affiliated organization that may be currently engaged in such a practice to end the practice." CMS also asserts that issuers are not required to accept such payments from health care providers or provider-affiliated organizations (e.g., provider-affiliated non-profits). Furthermore, the agency notes that is has "several regulatory and operational tools" it could use to discourage providers from making premium payments or routinely waiving cost-sharing for individual market plans, including: revisions to Medicare and Medicaid provider conditions of participation and enrollment rules; and imposition of civil monetary penalties (CMPs) for individuals who failed to provide correct information to the Marketplace/Exchange when enrolling consumers into qualified health plan. In addition, CMS is exploring its authority to impose CMPs on providers if their actions result in late enrollment penalties for Medicare-eligible individuals who delayed Medicare enrollment because they were steered to an individual market plan. CMS is also working closely with federal, state and local law enforcement to investigate instances of potential fraud and abuse, as well as collaborating with private and public health plans on provider fraud in the Healthcare Fraud Prevention Partnership.

In the notice, CMS invites feedback on specific questions related to the frequency of patient steering and options to limit this practice, including (among many others):

  • How, and to what extent, are health care providers actively engaged in steering?
  • How are issuers accounting for people entering the single risk pool who would normally be covered under another government program when setting rates?
  • Are there examples of steering practices that specifically target people eligible for or receiving Medicare and/or Medicaid benefits to enroll in individual market plans?
  • Are providers steering people eligible for Medicare and/or Medicaid to individual market plans because they are excluded from Medicare and Medicaid or their enrollment has been terminated or billing privileges revoked?
  • What actions could CMS consider to add transparency to third party payments?
  • In what ways are Medicare- and Medicaid- eligible individuals impacted by steering?
  • What remedies could effectively deter health care providers or provider-affiliated organizations from steering people eligible for or enrolled in Medicare and/or Medicaid to individual market plans and paying premiums for the provider's financial gain?
  • What steps do third party payers take to effectively screen for Medicare and/or Medicaid eligibility before offering premium assistance?
  • For providers that offer premium assistance, how are they interacting with beneficiaries to determine proper enrollment, and how are consumers connected to foundations or others who are in the position to provide premium assistance?
  • To what extent is steering associated with other inappropriate behavior, such as billing for services not provided, or quality of care?

CMS also seeks more open-ended comments on:

  • Policies prohibiting providers from offering premium assistance and routine cost-sharing waivers for individual market plans when a beneficiary is currently enrolled or could become enrolled in Medicare.
  • Federal policy changes related to premium assistance programs in the individual market to prevent negative impact to beneficiaries and the single risk pool.
  • Changes to Medicare and Medicaid provider enrollment requirements and conditions of participation that would potentially restrict health care providers from manipulating patient enrollment in various health plans for their own benefit.
  • The advisability of such restrictions, as well as considerations of how such restrictions would affect health care providers and beneficiaries.
  • Policies to require Medicare and Medicaid-enrolled providers to report premium assistance and cost-sharing waivers for individual market enrollees to CMS or issuers.
  • Approaches that would allow individual market plans to limit their payment to health care providers to Medicare-based amounts for particular services and items of care.
  • Policies that would allow individual market plans to make retroactive payment adjustments to providers, when health care providers are found to have steered Medicare or Medicaid beneficiaries and enrollees to enroll in an individual market plan for the provider's financial gain.

Comments will be accepted until September 22, 2016.

This article is presented for informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute legal advice.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
 
In association with
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of www.mondaq.com

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.

Disclaimer

Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.

Registration

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.

Cookies

A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.

Links

This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.

Mail-A-Friend

If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.

Security

This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.