As a result of a new rule published on February 1, 2023, at 88 Fed. Reg. 6643, Medicare Advantage (MA) organizations soon will be facing enhanced exposure from Risk Adjustment Data Validation (RADV) audits. Under the new rule, effective for audits of payment years 2018 and after, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will use extrapolation to calculate MA organizations’ repayment obligations based on RADV audit findings. While CMS did not adopt any specific extrapolation methodology and plans to use methodologies appropriate to the specific audit, it will be focused on contracts identified as being high-risk for improper payments using statistical modeling, data analytics, or both. CMS does commit to disclosing the extrapolation methodology used in connection with any particular audit so that MA organizations will know how their repayment obligation was calculated. Notwithstanding its prior proposal to do so (https://www.cms.gov/Research-Statistics-Data-and-Systems/Monitoring-Programs/recovery-audit-program-parts-c-and-d/Other-Content-Types/RADV-Docs/RADV-Methodology.pdf), CMS did not adopt a Fee-For-Service Adjuster in RADV Audits. Relying on a recent D.C. Circuit decision, CMS takes the position that the obligation to report and return overpayments is not subject to the “actuarial equivalence” provision of the statute (42 U.S.C. § 1395w-23(a)(1)(C)) that applies to the risk adjustment payment methodology. UnitedHealthcare Ins. Co. v. Becerra, 16 F.4th 867, 885-86 (D.C. Cir. 2021), cert denied, 142 S. Ct. 2851 (2022).Continue Reading CMS Issues Final Rule Authorizing Extrapolation as Part of RADV Audits
Health care attorneys have long questioned whether there are significant Anti-Kickback Statute (AKS) risks associated with financial transactions between Medicare Advantage plans and their participating providers. An ongoing case in the Northern District of Illinois could provide Medicare Advantage organizations with a clear answer regarding the nature of such risks.
United States ex rel. Derrick v. Roche Diagnostics Corp., brought by a qui tam relator under the False Claims Act, involves Roche Diagnostics Corp. (“Roche”), a manufacturer of glucose monitoring products, and Humana, Inc. (“Humana”), an issuer of Medicare Advantage plans (collectively the “Defendants”). United States ex rel. Derrick v. Roche Diagnostics Corp., 318 F. Supp. 3d 1106 (N.D. Ill. 2018). The relator alleges that the Defendants violated the AKS when Roche agreed to settle an overpayment owed by Humana for pennies on the dollar in exchange for the exclusive placement of Roche products on Humana’s formularies. This litigation has been ongoing since 2014 and the trial is set for early 2020.
Prior to the events giving rise to this action, Roche sold glucose monitoring products via Humana’s Medicare Advantage formularies. The relator alleges the following sequence of events. First, in March 2013 Humana notified Roche that it would be terminating its supplier contract with Roche and removed Roche’s products from its formularies. After protracted settlement negotiations, Roche agreed to accept only $11 million of the $45 million overpayment. That same week, Humana placed Roche products back on the Humana formularies and, crucially, also agreed to remove from its formularies all products that competed with Roche. Additionally, Roche “reserved the right to recover the full amount owed if Humana did not satisfactorily perform its obligations” under the debt forgiveness agreement. The relator claims that this exchange of debt forgiveness (remuneration) for formulary placement (recommendation/referral) amounted to an AKS violation.
Continue Reading AKS and Medicare Advantage Plans: Don’t Kickback and Relax!
Appeals Court ruling supports MA organization request for refund of B&O taxes paid on premiums
On April 1, 2019, the Washington Court of Appeals Division 1 ruled unanimously in a published opinion that premiums received by Medicare Advantage (“MA”) organizations from or on behalf of their members are not subject to Washington’s business and occupation…