CMS announced on March 28th an expansion of its Accelerated and Advance Payment program as a result of COVID-19.
The expansion is part of the recently-enacted Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
Accelerated and Advance Medicare payments was originally designed to address emergency funding of cash flow issues in areas where natural disasters have occurred.
During the COVID-19 crisis, CMS is expanding the program to include all Medicare providers and suppliers throughout the country.
The program allows CMS to make a bulk pre-payment of 90 days’ worth of future claim revenue to help groups with cash-flow. CMS then recoups this money over time.
At a high level, the program works like this:
1. The Medical Group/Hospital completes an application through their Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC).
2. CMS makes a bulk payment of 3 months’ worth of typical CMS claim payments.
3. Groups continue to submit claims and get paid during the time of crisis (120 days)
4. Starting 120 days after the bulk payment, the group’s claims start being deducted from the amount of bulk payment.
5. This process of new claims being unpaid to offset the bulk payment will continue for 210 days for medical groups (longer for hospitals)
6. At the end of the 210 day timeframe, groups must repay the any outstanding balance in full at that time.
The specific details of the program are outlined in the Medicare Fact Sheet.