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Proposed Legislation Would Help Suffering Seniors

The federal government is considering passage of a piece of legislation aimed at helping fix a problem that adds to the suffering of many senior citizens. HR4796, the Medicare Secondary Payer Enhancement Act, would correct a problem with the Medicare Secondary Payer system that currently causes many seniors to die while waiting to receive funds to which they are entitled.

As it now stands, many insurers and other funding sources who owe money to seniors must first confirm that the Center for Medicare Services (CMS) is reimbursed before sending the owed funds to the seniors. However, the CMS system’s inefficiency means that it is often months and even years before CMS responds to these requests for reimbursements, keeping the senior waiting without compensation. This current system also makes many cases not fit for settlement, because the insurer or other payer of a claim are unable to fairly assess the cost and reasonable settlement amount in a timely manner.

The new bill would essentially require CMS to respond to these requests within two months. This would guarantee that the insurers and others receive timely information about CMS reimbursement enabling them to efficiently compensate seniors the money that they are due.

The measure would be funded by a $30 application fee, meaning there is no cost to the taxpayer for the improved efficiency. The bill is currently in the early stages of the legislative process. Earlier this year it was referred to the House Energy and Commerce committee where it awaits further action.

The Chicago nursing home attorneys at Levin & Perconti support this bill as a logical, efficient and necessary improvement to help victimized and suffering seniors. As facilitators of many settlements for victims of elder abuse, our lawyers have witnessed first-hand the important role that settlement and prompt payment serves to the most desperate seniors. The time to correct this inefficiency is the system is long overdue. We encourage everyone to contact their member of Congress and advocate for the bill’s passage.