Why it’s a challenge to identify and restore underpaid ESRD premiums
In her recent blog, Why Medicare Advantage plans may be losing money on members with ESRD, my colleague Lyndsay Deckert addressed the challenges MA plans face with receiving accurate premiums from CMS for members with end-stage renal disease (ESRD). I’ll pick up from Lyndsay’s information and delve more deeply into how Medicare Advantage plans can restore underpaid ESRD premiums.
Health plans miss out on millions in premium revenue that can be traced back to missing or inaccurate CMS data about ESRD statuses for MA members. To address this, many plans have developed processes for identifying and correcting inaccurate data, restoring underpaid premiums, and ensuring they collect the correct premiums going forward for their members with ESRD. However, ESRD premium restoration is a complex process that requires combing through multiple data sources to identify potential premium gaps and working through providers to correct ESRD-related patient information. This process is painstaking and requires tenacity.
ESRD reporting is (mostly) out of your control
The first challenge is sifting through data in CMS Monthly Membership Reports (MMRs), plan eligibility files, and claims data to find any potentially underpaid premiums. The clues may be hidden in various, disparate data sources. To make sense of these clues, it helps to have an automated process to bring all these data sources together and use optimized analytical queries to find anomalies in the data. This is in your control.
What’s not in your control is updating the potential missing flags once you’ve identified them. Plans must work with providers who are often pressed for time and resources and are subject to human error. One simple mistake can prevent CMS from restoring a patient’s ESRD status in the member data. This omission can take years to uncover and can cost the health plan millions in the meantime.
Plans can take control of ESRD restoration with systematic approach and patience
CMS allows health plans to identify, investigate, and restore up to 84 months of underpaid premiums for members with ESRD. However, it’s the plan’s responsibility to identify those ESRD members and to ensure their data is validated and corrected according to CMS guidelines.
Plans that take a systematic approach to analyzing and reconciling their ESRD membership can successfully restore underpaid premiums and ensure accurate premium payments going forward. Many plans find that partnering with an experienced ESRD premium restoration vendor to focus on the things outside the plan’s control can help maximize results.
Here are 5 components of an effective ESRD premium restoration program that plans should look for:
Analytics—Comb through vast amounts of MMR, eligibility, and claims data going as far back as 84 months and identify likely ESRD members that require further investigation
Investigation—Determine the root-cause issues for each ESRD member that’s identified and the right process for addressing the issues with the appropriate submitting authorities
Remediation—Use the right method of outreach and coordinate with dialysis centers, CMS, or other third parties to ensure that information is corrected and updates are confirmed
Restoration—Diligently track and reconcile restored premiums and monitor future premiums for accuracy for as long as it takes to make sure revenue is fully realized
Monitoring—Ensure that each identified ESRD member status continues to be reported accurately and that correct premiums continue to be paid
With a systematic approach, time, and patience, plans can gain control of ESRD member statuses and restore underpaid premiums.