Fraud Prevention Resources

CMS has published information about helping patients avoid fraud and scams, which may be particularly important with the release of the New Medicare Cards.

Medicare will never call beneficiaries uninvited and ask for personal or private information to get their new Medicare Number and card.  Scam artists may try to get personal information (like their current Medicare Number) by contacting them about their new card.  If your Medicare patient is asked for their information, for money, or someone threatens to cancel their health benefits if they don’t share their personal information, have them call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).

The new Medicare Number is also called the Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) and is replacing the current Social Security-based Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN) on Medicare health insurance cards.  Medicare will continue to accept the HICN through the transition period; see https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/New-Medicare-Card/index.html#target.  Identity theft resources for people with Medicare can be found at https://www.medicare.gov/forms-help-and-resources/identity-theft/identity-theft.html.

New Medicare Cards News

CMS has updated and expanded their NMC website for providers, at https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/New-Medicare-Card/Providers/Providers.html to include information on how remittance advices with HICNs or MBIs will be handled.  They’ve also published an NMC Mailing Strategy document, at https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/New-Medicare-Card/NMC-Mailing-Strategy.pdf.  New cards will be mailed to Alaska, California, and Oregon between April and June 2018, and to Idaho, Montana, and Washington in July 2018 and beyond.

They’ve also published Guidance on how to talk to patients about their new cards, with suggested language to use to keep everyone on the same page and avoid confusion, at https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/New-Medicare-Card/New-Medicare-Card-Messaging-Guidelines-July-2017.pdf.  The NMC Overview web page at https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/New-Medicare-Card/index.html has also been updated.

ESRD in the Budget Act of 2018

Kidney Care Partners (https://www.pr.com/press-release/744275) has summarized the ESRD-related provisions of the new budget law, H.R.1892 – Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018; the Act “will expand the use of home dialysis therapy through use of telehealth services; expedite patient access to quality dialysis care at newly certified facilities; and extend authority for Special Needs Plans (C-SNPs) without interruption in care.”  In addition, payments for non-emergency ambulance use are reduced.

While the legislation as passed and signed may not be effective until HHS converts it to administrative law, the original lawyerese can be found at:

NMC Ombudspersons

CMS has announced the appointment of a Provider Ombudsman for the New Medicare Card, to serve as a resource for the provider community.  The Ombudsman will ensure that CMS hears and understands any implementation problems experienced by clinicians, hospitals, suppliers, and other providers, will communicate about the New Medicare Card to providers, and help to develop solutions to any implementation problems that arise.  To reach the Provider Ombudsman, contact: NMCProviderQuestions@cms.hhs.gov .

The Medicare Beneficiary Ombudsman and other CMS staff will address inquiries from Medicare beneficiaries and their representatives through existing inquiry processes.  For more information on the Beneficiary Ombudsman see https://www.medicare.gov/Pubs/pdf/11173.pdf and https://www.medicare.gov/claims-and-appeals/medicare-rights/get-help/ombudsman.html .

<12/7 MC Open Enrollment

Medicare Open Enrollment, the period during which you’re allowed to change your Medicare coverage, is open until December 7, 2017.  Northwest Renal Network’s October 2017 Patient Bulletin briefly describes the process, and includes links to the Plan Finder, to help paying for drugs, and the Medicare Open Enrollment Toolkit.  If your facility has not given you a copy already, find the Patient Bulletin at https://nwrn.org/patients-a-family/ptedres/mon.html .

8/31 Ticket to Work Webinar

Employment Options will present a free August 31, 2017 webinar on Myths and Facts about the Ticket to Work Program for patients on SSDI and SSI.  Find more information and register at https://cc.readytalk.com/registration/#/?meeting=346r6myw26vz&campaign=2ju8b1lssy7f .  The webinar is open to anyone, but capacity is limited, so even if you’re registered, you must still be among the first 250 people to join in on the event day.