Wednesday, January 19, 2011

BCBSNC issues update on Medicare Secondary Payer demands and federal debt notices

Due to problems with the data shared between the U.S. Department of Treasury (Treasury) and the Medicare Secondary Payer Recovery Contractor (MSPRC), BCBSNC was unable to submit timely responses to Treasury demands sent to employer groups in November and December of 2010.

Although the initial data issues have been resolved, employer groups may nevertheless face the following challenges:
• Once the MSPRC has sent over debts to the Treasury, the collection efforts are out of the MSPRC’s control. Therefore, if the MSPRC mistakenly sent a debt to the Treasury, it is difficult to stop the Treasury’s collection efforts.
• When the Treasury’s records indicate that there is a debt outstanding, employer groups can be denied federal grants or other monies owed to them.

Details About These Issues
• In November and December, the Treasury could provide neither BCBSNC nor its employer groups with identifying information related to letters that the Treasury issued to insurers and employer groups around November and December of 2010.
• During this time, the MSPRC, and in turn, BCBSNC, could not match FedDebt# information to its corresponding MSP demand. (The FedDebt# is the number that the Treasury assigns to each demand that is received from the MSPRC.)
• Because BCBSNC was unable to identify Treasury letters appropriately or trace these letters to their corresponding MSP demands, they were unable to respond to Treasury demands in a timely manner.

Resolution to the Data Problem
On January 6, 2011, BCBSNC received information allowing them to identify the Treasury letters issued in November and December of 2010 and trace them to MSP demands as appropriate. BCBSNC is now working to identify the Treasury letters that were previously unidentified and respond to the Treasury as quickly as possible.

What Employer Groups Can Do
If employers receive a Treasury letter, a letter from a private collection agency (PCA), or even a phone call from a PCA, they should forward that information immediately to the MSP area at BCBSNC via one of the following channels: (and attach a PDF of the Dept of Treasury letter or PCA letter)
• Send a fax to the BCBSNC secure fax line at 919-287-8782
• Mail to: BCBSNC MSP Dept., PO Box 2291, Durham NC 27707
It is imperative that BCBSNC receive this information as soon as possible, in order to prevent offsets from occurring.

Long-Term Resolution for These Types of Issues
The BCBS Association (BCBSA) has been working with Plans and CMS to resolve these issues on both a case-by-case and systemic basis. BCBSA has been advocating for a more efficient and responsive process within the MSPRC.

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