Medicare is the Secondary Payor when other insurance is available to pay the claim. However, when the Primary Payor delays payment, Medicare will make a “conditional payment.” If the Primary Payor fails to reimburse Medicare within 60 days, Medicare and other Medicare Advantage Organizations (MAOs) can recover double damages from the Primary Payor.
This Eleventh Circuit decision opens the door to allow “downstream actors” (the physician groups who contract with MAOs to provide care) to recover double damages from the Primary Payor.
[T]he Eleventh Circuit held that “downstream actors that have made conditional payments in an MAO’s stead or that have reimbursed an MAO for its conditional payment can bring suit for double damages against the primary payer.” Included in its reasoning, the court observed that the MSPA was intended to protect Medicare and MAOs from paying for medical costs that should have been covered by a primary payer. If a downstream actor renders a conditional payment that should have been the responsibility of a primary payer, the downstream actor suffers the same financial loss.