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Section 111 of the Medicare/Medicaid SCHIP Extension Act (MMSEA) of 2007, at its most basic level, requires insurers and self-insureds to both identify Medicare beneficiaries with whom they pay benefits or settlements associated with workers’ comp, no fault or liability claims and – once identified – report data to Medicare as directed by the Secretary of Health & Human Services.

The reporting act originally mandated that failure to comply with the reporting requirements “shall be subject to a civil money penalty of $1,000 for each day of noncompliance” for each individual for which the information should have been submitted. With the threat of severe penalties, the insurance industry quickly responded, obtaining Responsible Reporting Entity (RRE) IDs and implementing claims system updates and section 111 compliance programs as quickly as possible.

Enter the SMART Act. On January 10, 2013, President Obama signed into law the Medicare IVIG Access and Strengthening Medicare and Repaying Taxpayers Act of 2012. The SMART Act, among other things, softened the language relative provide CMS with discretion not only to the imposition of the penalty but also into the amount of the penalty.

Now, civil money penalties “may be subject to a civil money penalty of up to $1,000 for each day of noncompliance with respect to each claimant.” The SMART Act also required the Secretary to quickly solicit proposals determining “specified practices for which such sanctions will and will not be imposed” via the regulatory process.

About a year after the SMART Act was signed into law, CMS kicked off the rulemaking process with an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM). The ANPRM sought comment on: what types of practices “would or would not” result in the imposition of civil money penalties; methods to determine the dollar amount of civil money penalties; and ways in which CMS may define what constitutes “good faith efforts” to identify a Medicare beneficiary. CMS received thirty four written comments to the ANPRM, but has done little since issuing the ANPRM.

In the ten years following the introduction of mandatory insurer reporting, the industry has yet to see any evidence of enforcement in the form of the imposition of dreaded civil money penalties.

However, CMS has issued yet another abundantly clear signal that Medicare Secondary Payer (MSP) enforcement will be a priority in 2019.

Now, an additional notice on the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) website has been posted which indicates that CMS will move forward with a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on “Civil Monetary Penalties (CMPs) and Medicare Secondary Payer Requirements.”