Medicare Recouping COVID-19 Loans
By Sean Price

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently began automatic recoupment of advance payments it made to practices during the COVID-19 pandemic, the agency announced. 

The Accelerated and Advance Payment Program increased cash flow to Medicare physicians and health care professionals affected by the economic fallout from COVID-19.  The program issued $106 billion nationwide during the early months of the pandemic. 

If your practice received one of these loans, CMS will now recover any outstanding balance from payments due to you from your Medicare claims, the agency says. 

Repayments began on March 1, 2021, for some practices. However, the timing of the payment recovery will depend on the one-year anniversary of when your practice received its first loan payment. CMS says repayment will take place on this schedule: 

  • 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; and
  • After that, a letter for any remaining balance of the accelerated or advance payment(s) will be issued. 

Physicians can request an extended repayment schedule (ERS), an installment payment plan to pay debts over three years, CMS says. An ERS can be extended up to five years if practices meet certain extreme hardship criteria. 

Find out more in the CMS frequently asked questions document, fact sheet, and learning materials for billing staff

Physicians originally were scheduled to make AAP Program repayments starting in August 2020, but CMS amended the terms of the program to allow physicians to recover from the dramatic decline in cash flow caused by COVID-19.

Last Updated On

June 04, 2021

Originally Published On

June 04, 2021

Sean Price

Reporter

(512) 370-1392

Sean Price is a reporter for Texas Medicine and Texas Medicine Today. He grew up in Fort Worth and graduated from the University of Texas at Austin. He's worked as an award-winning writer and editor for a variety of national magazine, book, and website publishers in New York and Washington. He's also helped produce Texas-based marketing campaigns designed to promote public health. Sean lives in Austin and enjoys hiking, photography, and spending time with his wife and two sons.

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