President Barack Obama has signed Medicare fee "patch" legislation to retroactively override a 21 percent cut in the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) that had been scheduled to take effect June 1, and provide physicians a 2.2 percent increase in their reimbursements through Nov. 30. Medicare payment contractors should begin processing claims at the new rates no later than July 1, 2010, according to the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). That means most optometrists across the country should be able to resume filing Medicare claims immediately, according the AOA Advocacy Group Director Jon Hymes. The AOA Advocacy Group last month advised AOA member optometrists to temporarily hold Medicare claims for services provided since June 1 until Congress could act to adjust the health plan's fee schedule.
Physicians/providers should not resubmit any claims that have already been submitted to their Medicare contractor, the CMS emphasizes. Most submitted claims with June dates of services will now be processed at the new updated payment rate. Claims containing June 2010 dates of service which have already been paid at the negative update rates will be reprocessed as soon as possible, the CMS emphasizes. Claims for services rendered prior to June 1, 2010 will continue to be processed and paid as usual, the CMS says.
Claims containing June dates of service that were submitted with charges greater than or equal to the new 2.2 percent update rates will be automatically reprocessed, the CMS emphasizes. However, affected physicians/providers who submitted claims containing June dates of service with charges less than the 2.2 percent update amount but desire the higher payment will need to contact their local Medicare contractor to request an adjustment. Submitted charges on claims cannot be altered without a request from the physician/provider, the CMS notes.