WASHINGTON, June 20, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The MARC Coalition today applauded the recent decision by the United States District Court in Haro v. Sebelius, No. CV 09-134 TUC DCB (D. Nev. May 5, 2011). The court's finding indicated that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) had improperly demanded repayment from Medicare beneficiaries. The Court also found that CMS had unfairly demanded repayments of disputed Medicare Secondary Payment "conditional payment" amounts and improperly began the calculation of interest on the repayment amounts, even in cases where beneficiaries were appropriately contesting the government's claims. Certifying a class action of all Medicare beneficiaries, the Court ruled that CMS had exceeded its authority demanding repayment under threat of collection actions before disputed amounts had been resolved through appeal or waiver.
"The Court's ruling is an important step forward for beneficiaries in defending their rights against erroneous recovery claims," noted Roy Franco, Co-chair of the MARC Coalition. "The Court's opinion is also important in highlighting how difficult it is for all parties – beneficiaries, their lawyers, retailers, insurers, and third party administrators – to navigate today's system given the continuing uncertainties associated with the current Medicare Secondary Payer process." Mr. Franco added that "this uncertainty will continue to harm all parties attempting to resolve claims – ironically creating a lose, lose, lose for beneficiaries, parties trying to settle claims with them, and ultimately the Medicare Trust Fund."
The MARC Coalition has been advocating for legislation to streamline the MSP process, and has worked to support the Strengthening Medicare and Repaying Taxpayers or "SMART" Act, H.R. 1063, introduced in the United States House of Representatives by Congressmen Tim Murphy (R-PA) and Ron Kind (D-WI). The bi-partisan legislation has garnered over 70 endorsements from businesses, associations and other supporters across the country since its introduction. "The SMART Act seeks to achieve through legislation the same kind of MSP reform that the Haro court found was needed," said Franco. "While this important decision will have to be watched carefully to see whether the Government appeals, there is no doubt that the Court's decision, like the SMART Act, will be an important moment in our efforts to reform and streamline the MSP process to assist beneficiaries, entities who settle cases, and the Trust Fund by improving the federal program," Franco noted.
The Medicare Advocacy Recovery Coalition (MARC) advocates for the improvement of the Medicare Secondary Payer (MSP) program for beneficiaries and affected companies. The Coalition collaborates and develops strategic alliances with Congressional leaders and government agencies to focus on implementation of MSP reporting, and on the broader issue of MSP reform. MARC's membership is comprised of entities representing virtually every sector of the MSP regulated community including attorneys, brokers, insureds, insurers, insurance and trade associations, self-insureds and third-party administrators. For more information on MARC and the SMART Act/H.R. 1063, please visit www.marccoalition.com.
SOURCE The Medicare Advocacy Recovery Coalition