By John Falardeau
Recently, Medicare providers, including chiropractors, who filed claims in 2019 discovered that funds were distributed automatically to their checking accounts. These are payments, not loans, to healthcare providers and will not need to be repaid.
Since the payments began to appear in checking accounts, ACA has been receiving several questions, especially from chiropractors who have not received the payments yet. In some of these cases, people are not looking in the right places. Therefore, if you have not received a Medicare stimulus payment to date, here are some steps you can take to ensure you don’t inadvertently miss it:
- First, ensure that you actually did file claims to Medicare in 2019. (Unfortunately, if you did not, you will not be eligible for a Medicare stimulus payment.)
- Check other accounts if you have them. I heard of one provider that did get a check last week, but it was deposited into their commercial payor account, not Medicare.
- If you have separate bank accounts, you may want to check all of them. The payments were all processed by United Health, so however you normally get funds from United might be how you receive this Medicare stimulus. I
- If it’s still not there, you can call the Department of Health and Human Services CARES Provider Relief hotline at (866) 569-3522 or go to https://www.hhs.gov/provider-relief/index.html.
- You can also try contacting your local MAC. They were the ones that pulled that data for United, so they will be the ones to process the claim and can find where the issue is.
Another question that people are asking is whether the Medicare stimulus funds will be taxed. Right now, there is no clear answer to this and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has offered no guidance. We are following this issue and will report to the profession as soon as something is finalized.
Also, as many are aware, HHS, has loosened Medicare rules and regulations regarding telehealth as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. Unfortunately, in this latest round of telehealth expansion, chiropractic patients in Medicare are still shut out from accessing telehealth services. ACA has made it a priority to allow chiropractors to furnish telehealth services to Medicare beneficiaries and we will continue to press HHS to allow this to happen.
Telehealth services are just another example of why Congress needs to pass H.R. 3654, the Chiropractic Medicare Coverage Modernization Act. This bill, introduced last July, will allow patients to access all Medicare-covered services allowed under their chiropractor’s state licensure. Should this bill pass, diagnostic services, X-rays, telehealth and other services that are allowed under a chiropractor’s state licensure, but that are inaccessible in a chiropractic clinic under Medicare, would finally be available to Medicare beneficiaries.
The main impediment to passing this legislation is not organized medicine or some other outside entity. We just need to build support for this bill by building the list of congressional cosponsors … simply put, the more cosponsors we have, the greater the likelihood of our success.
You can help by going to the ACA Legislative Action Center and urging your representative to cosponsor H.R. 3654. We have made it easy for you to contact your representative on Capitol Hill. Please be sure to spread this message to your patients, family and friends.
In these uncertain times, your ACA is dedicated to help patients and their chiropractors get the care and help that they need. We also remain vigilant in advancing the profession and increasing access to patients with legislation like H.R. 3654. ACA is chiropractic’s voice in Washington, and we will continue to make it heard throughout Capitol Hill and beyond.
John Falardeau is ACA senior vice president of public policy and advocacy.