The newly passed Strengthening Medicare and Repaying Taxpayers Act (SMART Act) could speed settlement of workers compensation claims for 2013.
Just this month, President Obama signed H.R. 1845 into law after Congress approved it at the end of December 2012. H.R. 1845 contains portions of H.R. 1063, commonly referred to as the SMART Act. The goal of the SMART Act is to simplify the procedure of reimbursing the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CSM). CSM requires that insurers and self-insured employers pay for a Medicare beneficiary’s medical treatment stemming from a workers compensation or liability case.
The SMART Act would require CSM to put forth its final demand for reimbursement for treatment prior to a workers compensation settlement agreement. This would let the insurers and self-insured know how much money is to be paid to CSM for reimbursement at the time of settlement, instead of waiting for CSM to send a bill before the claim can be closed. The SMART Act would also include a three-year statute of limitations for CSM to seek reimbursement and establishes a minimum threshold for settlements in which CSM is able to seek Medicare reimbursement.
Supporters of the bill believe it will make the settlement process move along more smoothly by eliminating much of the busy work and increasing confidence in settlements.
The largest benefit to injured New Jersey workers is that their matters can resolve quicker and with the knowledge that when information is acquired from Medicare it is accurate and information which can be relied upon by the injured workers lawyer.