Congress has passed a short-term spending bill to keep government programs operating at 2020 funding levels through December 11. Included in the 115-page bill are important revisions to the Medicare Accelerated and Advance Payments Program (AAP) that extends the deadline for providers to start repaying Medicare advance payment loans. AOPA worked closely with our congressional champions to ensure this was included in the final bill.
Under the AAP program, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) offered to advance money to providers to help keep their doors open during the early months of the pandemic. These loans, however, had to be paid back later out of Medicare payments to practices. As currently written, the terms for repayment are problematic, especially considering the current financial difficulties being experienced by providers during the pandemic. Providers would have 100 percent of their Medicare claims withheld to repay the loans on a short timeline, and after a few months any outstanding balances, would be subject to a 10.25 percent interest rate.
However, the bill passed today by Congress and expected be signed into law shortly by President Trump:
- Postpones the recoupment of disbursed funds until one year after the advance payment has been issued to a physician practice; the balance would be due by September 2022.
- Reduces the per claim recoupment amount from 100 percent to 25 percent for the first 11 months and 50 percent of claims withheld for an additional six months. The interest rate kicks in if not repaid in full; however, the bill lowers the interest rate from 10.25 percent to four percent.
AOPA was pleased to see our efforts on this issue pay off. We continue to push Congress for additional benefits for orthotists and prosthetists, including a statutory separation of O&P from DME, tax deductions on Personal Protective Equipment, and ensuring providers are not required to pay taxes on Provider Relief Fund disbursements. We encourage you to utilize our AOPAVotes.org page to write your legislators on these issues.
For questions, please contact Justin Beland, Director of Government Affairs.