Medicare Extends Repayment of Advance Loans
By David Doolittle

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If you received payments in the spring from the Medicare Accelerated and Advance Payment Program, you will now have more time to repay those loans, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced.

Under the original terms of the Medicare loan program, physicians were required to begin making payments in August. However, CMS last week amended the terms so that repayment will be delayed until one year after payment was issued.

The American Medical Association in August urged the Trump administration to reconsider the original payment terms, citing a dramatic decrease in physician revenue and cash flow because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As of May, Medicare had distributed $100 billion to hospitals, physicians, and providers through the accelerated/advance payment program, including nearly $6 billion in Texas. 

“CMS’ advanced payments were loans given to providers and suppliers to avoid having to close their doors and potentially causing a disruption in service for seniors,” CMS Administrator Seema Verma said in a statement. “While we are seeing patients return to hospitals and doctors providing care, we are not yet back to normal.”

CMS said physicians can repay their accelerated or advance payment in full at any time by contacting their Medicare administrative contractor (MAC), which is Novitas Solutions in Texas.

If any balance remains, CMS said the new repayments terms are as follows:

  • Repayment does not begin until one year starting from the date the accelerated or advance payment was issued.
  • After the first year, Medicare will automatically recoup 25% of Medicare payments for 11 months.
  • After those 11 months, recoupment will increase to 50% for six months.
  • After that, a letter for any remaining balance of the accelerated or advance payment(s) will be issued.

In addition, physicians can request an Extended Repayment Schedule (ERS), an installment payment plan to pay debts over three years, CMS said. An ERS can be extended to as many as five years if certain extreme hardship criteria are met.

Find more information in a CMS frequently asked questions (FAQ) document.

Last Updated On

October 13, 2020

Originally Published On

October 13, 2020

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David Doolittle

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Dave Doolittle is editor of Texas Medicine and Texas Medicine Today. Dave grew up in Austin, where he attended culinary school as well as the University of Texas. He spent years covering Central Texas for the Austin American-Statesman newspaper. He is the father of two girls, a proud Longhorn, and an avid motorsports fan.

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