By: Timothy Mercer and Christi Allison
Until recently, Beneficiaries were able to make payments electronically via Mymedicare.gov for conditional payment cases at the Benefits Coordination and Recovery Center (BCRC), but primary payers could only pay by check through the mail. On April 1, 2019, the Medicare Secondary Payer Recovery Portal (MSPRP) was updated with a new feature, offering primary payers to also pay conditional payment debts electronically.
Previously, all demand payments were mailed to either the BCRC or the Commercial Repayment Center (CRC). This process afforded multiple opportunities for clerical and processing errors which resulted in misapplied funds, unnecessary delays in application of payments, and, in some cases, Treasury collection referrals.
The new electronic payment option is available for all Non-Group Health Plan (NGHP) demands and available to all users who have access to the MSPRP. Once you have an authorization to access the case through the portal, there are no additional authorizations needed.
Here is how to use the payment feature: First, select the appropriate case from the MSPRP as you normally would do from your Case Listing screen. At the bottom of the Payment Information screen there will be a green button that reads “Make a Payment.” This button appears only when case is in the demand stage; electronic payments cannot be made on cases that are at the Conditional Payment Notice (CPN) stage or after the case is referred to the Department of Treasury. Once you click this button, you will be taken to Pay.gov, a secure payment system administrated by the Department of Treasury. This should open in a new browser screen.
From here, you proceed as you would with any other online payment. First, you select your method of payment; there are multiple options available. The acceptable methods are: Checking or Savings account via a direct link; Debit card; and PayPal account – note the PayPal account must be linked to a bank account and not to a credit card. From there, the full demand amount will auto-populate in the payment information screen regardless of the method you chose. You can change the amount to pay, if needed. For instance, if you are disputing a portion of the payment, but paying the remainder to avoid interest while the disputes are processing, you can change the payment amount to that of your partial payment. The maximum allowable debit card payment is $24,999.99. Enter your account information based on the method you have chosen and click continue. You will then be taken to a Review and Submit Payment screen. This is your last chance to make sure everything is correct, so proceed with caution. As we all surely know, getting refunds is a lengthy process none of us want to undertake. After you have reviewed your information, click “continue” and you will be brought back to the MSPRP.
The pending payment will be instantly reflected on a Payment Status screen on the MSPRP. This page will either show a payment in process or a declined payment. Both screens will look the same with the exception of the payment amount. If the payment is declined, the payment amount will reflect $0.00. The reason the payment was declined will not be available via the MSPRP. Continue after you have reviewed the screen to return to the Case Information Screen.
There will also be a new tab here labeled Electronic Payment History. This page will show any electronic payments made on this case. It will have payment date, method, account holder name, payment amount, payment status and an updated demand status. The payment status will be one of three options: Accepted, Declined or Pending.
CMS advises the average processing time for payments will be 1-3 days, but of course this will vary based on your banking institution. All payments will appear on your statement as “HHSCMS.”
Hopefully this gives you a basic understanding of the new electronic payment capabilities of the MSPRP. Feel free to submit questions or ideas for other topics you would like to see discussed here.