Beneficiaries Previously Enrolled in Managed Care Who Return to Traditional Fee for Service (FFS) (Rev. 1, 10-01-03)

by  Jared Staheli
June 17th, 2015

When a beneficiary who was previously enrolled in a Medicare HMO/Managed Care program returns to traditional FFS, he or she is subject to all benefits, rules, requirements and coverage criteria as a beneficiary who has always been enrolled in FFS. When a beneficiary returns to FFS, it is as though he or she has become eligible for Medicare for the first time. Therefore, if a beneficiary received any items or services from their HMO or Managed Care plan, they may continue to receive such items and services only if they would be entitled to them under Medicare FFS coverage criteria and documentation requirements.

For example, if a beneficiary received a manual wheelchair under a HMO/Managed Care plan, he or she would need to meet Medicare coverage criteria and documentation requirements for manual wheelchairs. He or she would have to obtain a Certificate of Medical Necessity (CMN), and would begin an entirely new rental period, just as a beneficiary enrolled in FFS, to obtain a manual wheelchair for the first time.

There is an exception to this rule if a beneficiary was previously enrolled in FFS and received a capped rental item, then enrolled in an HMO, stayed with the HMO for 60 or fewer days, then returned to FFS. For purposes of this instruction, CMS has interpreted an end to medical necessity to include enrollment in an HMO for 60 or more days.

Another partial exception to this rule involves home oxygen claims. If a beneficiary has been receiving oxygen while under a Medicare HMO, the supplier must obtain an initial CMN and submit it to the DMERC at the time that FFS coverage begins. However, the beneficiary does not have to obtain the blood gas study on the CMN within 30 days prior to the Initial Certification date on the CMN, but the test must be the most recent study the patient obtained while in the HMO, under the guidelines specified in DMERC policy. It is important to note that, just because a beneficiary qualified for oxygen under a Medicare HMO, it does not necessarily follow that he/she will qualify for oxygen under FFS.

Another partial exception to this rule involves home oxygen claims. If a beneficiary has been receiving oxygen while under a Medicare HMO, the supplier must obtain an initial CMN and submit it to the DMERC at the time that FFS coverage begins. However, the beneficiary does not have to obtain the blood gas study on the CMN within 30 days prior to the Initial Certification date on the CMN, but the test must be the most recent study the patient obtained while in the HMO, under the guidelines specified in DMERC policy. It is important to note that, just because a beneficiary qualified for oxygen under a Medicare HMO, it does not necessarily follow that he/she will qualify for oxygen under FFS.

These instructions apply whether a beneficiary voluntarily returns to FFS, or if he or she involuntarily returns to FFS because their HMO or Managed Care plan no longer participates in the Medicare + Choice (HMO) program.

References:

Beneficiaries Previously Enrolled in Managed Care Who Return to Traditional Fee for Service (FFS) (Rev. 1, 10-01-03). (2015, June 17). Find-A-Code Articles. Retrieved from https://www.findacode.com/articles/beneficiaries-previously-enrolled-in-managed-care-who-return-to-traditional-fee-for-service-ffs-26670.html

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