April 09, 2020
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced today it has now delivered more than $51 billion in advance payments to health care providers to ensure they have the resources they need to combat this pandemic.
These funds are part of the expanded accelerated and advance payment program for participating Medicare providers and suppliers to lessen the financial hardships of providers facing extraordinary challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Accelerated and advance Medicare payments provide emergency funding and address cash flow issues based on historical payments when there is disruption in claims submission and/or claims processing.
Processing times for an advance Medicare payment is now four to six days, down from the previous timeframe of three to four weeks. In a little over a week, CMS has already approved over 21,000 of the 32,000 requests it received from health care providers and suppliers seeking accelerated and advance payments. Prior to COVID-19, CMS had approved just over 100 total requests in the past five years, with most being tied to natural disasters such as hurricanes.
California physicians can submit an advance payment request to Noridian, California's Medicare contractor. Providers can request 100% of their historical Medicare payment amount for a three-month period.
Repayment of the advance payments begins 120 days after the issuance of the advance payment. Physicians have 210 days from the issuance of the advance payment to repay the entire balance due to CMS. These advance payments currently carry a 10.25% interest rate that the California Medical Association (CMA) and American Medical Association are working to reverse in Congress’ next COVID-19 response legislation.
For more information, see CMA’s COVID-19 Financial Toolkit for Medical Practices. This document will be regularly updated.