Effective March 17, 2020, all local Social Security offices will be closed for in-person services in an effort to protect older Americans, and people with medical conditions that would be adversely affected by the virus and their employees. The local offices will still provide critical services over the phone and online. Their National phone number is operational for automated services and can be reached at (800) 772-1213. A link to the announcement can be found here.
This announcement comes on the heels of unprecedented local and national business shutdowns in an attempt to “Flatten the Curve” of reported cases of COVID-19 Coronavirus and lessen the burden on the healthcare industry. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to monitor the effects of the virus and provides updates here. Social Security will issue an update when they plan to reopen their offices.
What does this mean for the Medicare Secondary Payer (MSP) compliance industry?
When thinking about MSP compliance and how to utilize the Social Security offices, here are five key considerations:
- Coordination and cooperation between insurers and claimants is paramount to navigating this trying time. Insurers should be working with claimants and their attorneys to determine if the claimant applied for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits and the status of their SSDI application.
- Insurers should lean on their Section 111 data and the Medicare Query to determine Medicare eligibility.
- Insurers should also work closely with their internal MSP compliance department or MSP compliance vendor to determine Medicare eligibility, addressing Conditional Payments and the need for a Medicare Set-Aside Arrangement.
- As is always the case, solid settlement language addressing all aspects of MSP compliance should be included within every settlement.
- If you are a beneficiary who needs to conduct service with Social Security, you can access most services on the website, from applying for retirement to requesting a replacement Social Security card. Local offices phone services will provide critical matters such as applying for benefits and answering questions. Most scheduled appointments and Hearings will be handled telephonically.
While things remain uncertain across the country, the companies that forge a plan of action during this time will be best equipped as events unfold.
ExamWorks Clinical Solutions offers a full suite of services to assist parties in addressing conditional payments Medicare Set-Aside arrangements, and we consult with parties daily to assist with the development and review of Medicare-compliant settlement language. We will continue to monitor the situation and will provide updated guidance if and as required. If you need help with any aspect of Medicare Secondary Payer Compliance, please contact our Director of Conditional Payment Services, Lou Porrazzo, Esq.