Thursday, October 28, 2010

Updated information on Medicare primary payment notice process from BCBSNC

On October 22, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC) added clarifying information to their September 10th Employer News Article on the Medicare Primary Payment Notice (PPN).

Specifically, BCBSNC updated their answer to the following question:
What will occur if employers do not complete and return the PPN worksheets to MSRPC?

If you do not complete and return the worksheet to the MSPRC within 45 days of the issue date of the letter, a demand (referred to as a Medicare Secondary Payer demand) will be sent for repayment for all of the claims associated with the beneficiaries and corresponding coverage dates identified in this notice. If the MSPRC does not receive the correct coverage information from employers or BCBSNC, then the Medicare Secondary Payment (MSP) demands that are issued may be incorrect. You can avoid having to submit multiple valid documented defenses by correcting errors on the PPN.

Please be aware that an MSP demand may be issued regardless of whether or not a PPN worksheet is submitted by BCBSNC or the employer. The purpose of the PPN is to verify eligibility and coverage. In some cases, Medicare beneficiaries are covered under types of policies (such as retiree, COBRA or long term disability policies) where Medicare is still considered the "primary" payer. In other cases, Medicare beneficiaries are covered under types of policies where Medicare is not the "primary" payer. The PPN process is intended to improve the accuracy of Medicare Secondary Payer (MSP) demands, rather than to eliminate them.

For more information, please see our original August 31st post on this topic, the MSPRC Presentation or the Sample PPN.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Judge to allow challenge against individual mandate to proceed

A federal judge in Florida on Thursday ruled that the main legal challenge to the new health care law by officials from 20 states could move forward. US District Judge Roger Vinson stated that he was not persuaded that the individual mandate requiring Americans to purchase health insurance is constitutional.

As Vinson has formally rejected the federal government’s motion to dismiss the suit, it will proceed to a full hearing on December 16th.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

BCBSNC announces new iPhone app to access health information

Today BCBSNC announced the launch of HealthNAV, a new mobile application designed to help customers access information and manage their personal health care. The free app is now available for download by customers with an Apple iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch.

The app features four functions including an urgent care finder, a prescription drug finder, customer service access and a health notes section.

For more information, see the BCBSNC News Release.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

IRS releases draft Form W-2 and delays implementation for employers

The IRS today issued a draft Form W-2 for 2011, which employers use to report wages and employee tax withholding. The IRS also announced that it will defer the new requirements for employers to report the cost of coverage under an employer-sponsored group health plan, making that reporting optional for employers in 2011.

The Treasury Department and the IRS have determined that this relief is necessary to provide employers time to make changes to their payroll systems and procedures to comply with the new reporting requirement. The IRS will be publishing further guidance later this year. The IRS continues to stress that the amounts reportable are not taxable.

For more information, please refer to the IRS Brief, IRS Notice 2010-69, and the Draft Form W-2.