Congress has shifted its full focus to tax reform as leadership scrambles to pass an overhaul of the nation’s code before the end of the year. Following several days of around-the-clock negotiations and speculation, The House GOP released the legislative text for H.R. 1 – The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) (text; section-by-section), signaling a significant step forward in the GOP’s push for a major overhaul of the nation’s tax code. The bill passed out of the House Ways and Means Committee last week, and heads to the House floor for debate and final passage by the end of this week, The Senate’s version of TCJA is slated to be marked up this week in the Finance Committee.
Among the many efforts to streamline and improve Medicaid, there has not been considerable focus over the past five years to improve the states’ Medicaid “third party liability” programs. Fortunately, Congress has the chance to correct that now by enacting the Medicaid TPL provisions of the Healthy Kids Act (H.R. 3921) that was recently approved by the House Energy & Commerce Committee.
Welcome to The MARC Monitor, your monthly update on federal secondary payer policy. As you may know, the Medicare Advocacy Recovery Coalition (MARC) is a national coalition advocating for the improvement of the Medicare and Medicaid Secondary Payer (MSP) programs. Each month, we’ll be bringing to your inbox the latest news, activities, and alerts on the issues that are driving the day in Washington on MSP.
In an article published in CLM Magazine, MARC members Greg McKenna and Heather Sanderson discuss how the SPARC Act (H.R. 1122) could bring needed changes to improve the Medicare Secondary Payer (MSP) law. "When Congress created the Part D program in 2003 as part of the Medicare Modernization Act (MMA), it failed to address secondary payer issues beyond simply stating that Part D Prescription Drug Plans' secondary payer rights were 'in the same manner' as Medicare Advantage Plans," they wrote, adding that "this process is inefficient and costly to enforce."
The authors go on to explain that the SPARC Act "would make clear who is responsible for prescription drug costs and when they must be reimbursed. It would also clarify when that responsibility begins, how a prescription drug plan (PDP) can recover past payments, and when and how CMS must share data to help facilitate the secondary payer recovery process." McKenna and Sanderson conclude that the SPARC Act "would provide commonsense reforms to improve healthcare outcomes for Medicare Part D beneficiaries, insurance carriers, and PDPs."
It is hard to imagine that in 2003, when Congress enacted the Medicare Modernization Act (MMA) and created the Medicare Prescription Drug Program (the “Part D” program), nobody really knew whether beneficiaries would actually sign up. Nor did Congress know whether, or how, the law would actually work.
The CMS administrator at the time, Tom Scully, famously noted that a prescription drug program “does not exist in nature.” In fact, at the time no model existed for a federally subsidized private insurance program, and there was nothing the Congress could use as a template. At best, Congress looked to the Medicare Advantage program as a guide for several of the operational aspects of the new Part D program. But even that was a poor analog.
MARC COALITION APPLAUDS REPS. MURPHY, KIND ON BIPARTISAN BILL TO IMPROVE MEDICARE SECONDARY PAYER POLICY
The Medicare Advocacy Recovery Coalition (MARC) today lauded Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA) and Ron Kind (D-WI) for their introduction of the Secondary Payer Advancement, Rationalization, and Clarification (SPARC) Act (H.R. 1122) – a bipartisan measure to improve the Medicare Secondary Payer (MSP) program in Medicare Part D. While the MSP policy is designed to ensure that the Medicare program and prescription drug plans (PDPs) do not reimburse healthcare expenses for which another entity is legally responsible, literally every stakeholder agrees that the process by which PDPs recapture payment for claims that were not its responsibility to pay is broken. The SPARC Act will significantly improve the efficiency of the current system, providing a clear framework for communication among all stakeholders involved.
MARC Coalition Supports Introduction of the Secondary Payer Advancement, Rationalization, and Clarification Act (SPARC Act) – H.R. 6120
WASHINGTON, October 11, 2016/PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Medicare Advocacy Recovery Coalition (MARC) today announced its support for the Secondary Payer Advancement, Rationalization, and Clarification Act (SPARC Act – H.R. 6120), introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives on September 22, 2016. Congressmen Tim Murphy (R-PA) and Ron Kind (D-WI) are leading a bipartisan effort to improve the Medicare Secondary Payer (MSP) Program in the Medicare Prescription Drug benefit. The SPARC Act will significantly improve the efficiency of the current Medicare Secondary Payer (MSP) system and speed repayment of amounts owed from Medicare beneficiary claims directly to the Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plans (PDPs)
Medicare Advantage Plans (MAPs), also known as Medicare “Part C,” are private insurance plans that provide a Medicare beneficiary’s “Part A” and “Part B” benefits. A Medicare beneficiary can choose to enroll in a MAP rather than traditional Medicare. Part D plans provide benefits for a Medicare beneficiary’s prescription drugs. It is important to note that traditional Medicare generally does not provide prescription coverage directly; a beneficiary must enroll in a Part D plan to receive Part D benefits.
Over the past year, I've been able to learn a lot about the Medicare Advocacy Recovery Coalition (MARC), an organization consisting of representatives from all over the workers' comp industry - carriers, TPAs, comp service providers, attorneys, employers, and more.
Greg McKenna, Vice President and Counsel for Gallagher Bassett Services, invited me to attend a MARC meeting at the WCI Conference in Florida last year. To say I was impressed would be an understatement. This group of men and women - who on most days are competing against each other for business - come together on a regular basis to advocate for the improvement of MSP programs - something that affects us all.