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Bill easing Medicare secondary payer compliance passes Senate

Bill easing Medicare secondary payer compliance passes Senate

A bill that aims to ease Medicare Secondary Payer Act compliance passed the U.S. Senate late Friday and is awaiting President Barack Obama's signature.

H.R. 1845 was approved in a unanimous consent vote after the U.S. House of Representatives passed the bill 401-3 on Wednesday.

The legislation contains portions of H.R. 1063, the Strengthening Medicare and Repaying Taxpayers Act, which was introduced by U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Rob Portman, R-Ohio, in 2011. The bill was folded into H.R. 1845 last week.

The parent bill, known as the Medicare IVIG Access Act, would study access to intravenous immunoglobulin for Medicare beneficiaries.

Proponents of the SMART Act say it would help simplify the process of reimbursing the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. CMS holds insurers and self-insureds responsible to pay for a Medicare beneficiary's medical treatment related to workers compensation or liability cases.

The SMART Act would require CMS to issue its final demand for reimbursement prior to a workers comp or liability settlement agreement.

It also would establish a minimum threshold for settlements in which CMS can seek Medicare reimbursement, and would set a three-year statute of limitations for CMS to seek reimbursement from a settled claim.