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U.S. Healthcare Crisis Turnaround?

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US Supreme Court Visits ERISAclaim.com

at 11:57:03 AM on Friday, November 21, 2003

What is ERISA Claim Appeal Network?

New Federal Health Claims & Appeals Laws & Regulations

for 193 Million Americans

Effective 09-23-2010

©2010, Jin Zhou, ERISAclaim.com

Photo of President Gerald R. Ford signing Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974

President Obama Signing Health Bill on 03/23/2010

President Gerald R. Ford Signing ERISA on 09/02/1974

New Webinars, Seminars & Certification Classes Announced for New Federal Health Claim Appeals Regulations on July 22, 2010 from HHS, DOL & IRS, Effective On Sept. 23, 2010 for 193 Million Americans

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UNITED STATES

DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

(Links to DOL) ©2010, Jin Zhou, ERISAclaim.com

Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

Statutory Laws [PDF] [PDF]

Employee Retirement Income Security Act — ERISA

Webinars, Seminars & Certification Classes for New Federal Health Claim Appeals Regulations

 

ERISAclaim.com - Free Webinars - New Federal Claims & Appeals Regulations, Effective Sept. 23, 2010, for 193 Million Americans

 

ERISAclaim.com: Seminars - 2010 Two-day Basic ERISA Appeal Seminars - Denials and Overpayment Appeals

 

ERISAclaim.com - 2010 PPACA & ERISA Claim Specialist Certification Programs in Chicago, Illinois

 

ERISAclaim.com:  Create An Appeal Department for Your Hospital or Practice (In-house, onsite ERISA Claim Specialist Certification Programs)

 

ERISAclaim.com - 2010 Claim Denial & Overpayment Dispute Two-day ERISA Appeal Seminars,

ERISAclaim.com - 2010 ERISA Claim Specialist Certification Programs in Chicago, Illinois

New ERISA Appeal Book with 2010 Major Updates  $450  & $150 (Updates only with previous purchase)

ERISAclaim.com - ERISA Litigation Support, Facts + Laws + Strategies = Winning Lawsuit When Inevitable

ERISAclaim.com - Free ERISA Webinar, The Beginning for $6 Trillion Healthcare Denial Management Market

 

Denials + Recoupment = Inflation + Fraud or Cost-Sharing?

Rx = Compliant Denial & Appeals!

Forbes.com: "Roughly one in seven Americans has no health insurance. That hurts HCA Inc. (nyse: HCA - news - people), the largest U.S. hospital chain, which last year wrote off $2.21 billion of revenue because patients couldn't pay their bills."

The American Hospital Association (AHA): "Hospitals today are faced with the challenge of managing their limited resources, while continuing to deliver the highest standard of care. According to health care experts, the cost of clinical denials to individual healthcare organizations averages $3.3 million annually. However, many hospitals do not have the resources or the expertise needed to avoid unpaid days at the end of admissions and lead the denial-appeals processes."

Payments Go Under a Microscope (washingtonpost.com) "MAMSI and CareFirst recoup overpayments to doctors by making deductions from future reimbursements. Doctors can appeal insurers' decisions. But, in the end, they usually pay up, doctors and insurers agree."

Hospital Pricing and the Uninsured, Glenn Melnick, Ph.D., "Price Gouging"
(Subcommittee on Health
Hearing on the Uninsured, Tuesday, March 09, 2004)

U.S. FILES COMPLAINT AGAINST NATIONAL ACCOUNTING FIRM UNDER FALSE CLAIMS ACT (DOJ Press Release"January 5, 2004 - PHILADELPHIA – United States Attorney Patrick L. Meehan announced today the filing of the Government's complaint against national accounting firm Ernst & Young. According to the complaint, nine hospitals paid Ernst & Young for billing advice – advice which later caused the submission of false claims to the Medicare program."

USATODAY.com - Hospitals Sock Uninsured with Much Bigger Bills

GM to Report $60B in Future Health-Care Obligations

Breaking News
950,000 MD's Settled With Aetna & Cigna on ERISA
"Aetna and CIGNA Settlement Secrets"
"Talking Points"
What You Should Know about Filing
Your Health Benefits Claim (DOL Claims Card)

U.S. Health-care Crisis & ERISA Criminal Enforcement

Fraud Health Care Cards
"New Strike Force"

Medical Fraud Every Day?
Appeal or Re-Bill After Denial?
You Must APPEAL
No Re-Billing!!!
Claim Appeal or Sentencing Appeal?
Your Choice
Maximal Reimbursement
through ERISA Appeal &

Fraud Prevention and Compliance

Network Support for ERISA Claim Appeal Compliance

ERISAclaim.com provides unique and unprecedented Network Support, as quality assurance and supplemental but ongoing support for health-care providers, who have participated our seminars and certification programs on health-care ERISA claims denials and appeals resolution services for healthcare providers, physicians, clinics and hospitals.

While managed care reimbursement and health-care cost containment are out of control, and reimbursement crisis is worsening every year, health-care providers are hopeless in suffering from "breaking point" reimbursement deterioration after every efforts failed to stop managed care claim denial abuses.  we provide ongoing educational programs and network support in assisting ERISA claim procedure compliance to prevent and fight back against improper claim denials and abuse.

Network Support Service Plans

Post Seminar Monthly Support Yearly Support
Fifteen Days-Free

$99/Individual Clinic
$390/Medical Groups
$590/Hospital

$990/Individual Clinic
$4,200/Medical Groups
$6,300/Hospital

Telephone & E-mail Telephone & E-mail Telephone, E-mail & Web Site Forum
ERISA Claims ERISA Claims ERISA Claims

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More than 70% of healthcare claims denied or delayed each year were not because of coding or billing errors or disputes, but due to non-coding and non-billing related reasons, such as policy exclusion, medical necessity/utilization reviews, pre-existing exclusions, pre-certification, prior-authorization, PPO bundling and downcoding and "unknown" or unexplained reasons. Yet all denials and delays were handled by coding and billing staffs, while up to 80% of healthcare claims are ERISA claims and these coding and billing staffs have no training and knowledge in ERISA, coverage dispute, appeal procedures. No one seems to know what to do, but do whatever they felt need to be done - going circles and frustrations every day.

Fraud Health Care Cards
"New Strike Force"

Medical Fraud Every Day?
Appeal or Re-Bill After Denial?
You Must APPEAL
No Re-Billing!!!
Claim Appeal or Sentencing Appeal?
Your Choice
Maximal Reimbursement
through ERISA Appeal &

Fraud Prevention and Compliance

 

Aetna:  Leading the Fight Against Health Care Fraud [PDF] View as HTML

"Thanks to this highly collaborative relationship, we know how to identify fraud because we know what to look for.

 Medical Fraud

  1. Unusual provider billing practices.

  2. Discrepancy between the submitted diagnosis and the treatment.

  3. Diagnoses or treatments that are outside the practitioner’s scope of practice.

  4. Claims that are resubmitted with coding changes to gain benefits.

  5. Alterations on claim submissions.

  6. Pressure for quick claim payment."

Payments Go Under a Microscope (washingtonpost.com) January 12, 2004

"MAMSI and CareFirst recoup overpayments to doctors by making deductions from future reimbursements. Doctors can appeal insurers' decisions. But, in the end, they usually pay up, doctors and insurers agree."

Employers Audit Workers' Health Claims (Wall Street Journal via SFGate.com)

Excerpt: "Looking to bring down soaring health-care costs anywhere they can, more employers are scouring their health plans for fraud, abuse and simple mistakes by employees or administrators.

.......The number of requests for such audits jumped 50 percent last year, Mr. Farley estimates."

Clinton Township Firm Convicted of Overbilling (Macomb Daily)

"The case is somewhat unusual in that a corporation was named as a criminal defendant in the case, but Kaiser said that is not unheard of since corporate law can make a firm liable for criminal wrongdoing, and its principal office holders in return are responsible for any judgments or punishments the courts impose.

David Griem, the defense attorney for Emergency Management who was also named the principal to enter a guilty plea on its behalf, also could not be reached for comment after the sentencing hearing. In court, however, he turned over a check to the Blue Cross insurance company officials in attendance and said the company would pay the $5,000 court costs on time as well."

U.S. Department of Justice Seal

Health Care Fraud Report Fiscal Year 1998 Link to Site Map

USDOJ: Deputy Attorney General: Publications and Documents - - Health Care Fraud Report Fiscal Year 1998

 "On June 4, 1998, in the District of Maryland, Levindale Geriatric Hospital paid $800,000 to resolve allegations it violated the FCA by recoding and resubmitting denied charges for room and board. After the claims for room and board were denied by the Medicare Part A program, Levindale recoded the claims as supplies, laboratory work and other services, and submitted the claims for payment. In addition to paying a substantial penalty under the FCA, Levindale entered into a compliance agreement with HHS-OIG"

ERISA Power Guides
(
by ERISAclaim.com, Copyright © 2004)

What You Should Know about Filing
Your Health Benefits Claim (Claims Card)

Filing A Claim For Your Health Or Disability Benefits (PDF)
Patient's Rights Claims Procedure Regulation (Fact Sheet)
Benefit Claims Procedure Regulation (FAQ)
New Federal Claim Regulation (Final Rule)
Amendments to Summary Plan Description Regulations (Final Rule)
   

New & Interactive From DOL
New @ elaws

Health Benefits Advisor

DOL/EBSA Organization Chart/Regional and District EBSA Offices | By Topic | By Audience | By Organization | By Location  

Health Benefits Laws By State
(Interactive Tools From Insure.com)

Health Insurance Mandates in the States, 2004: a State-by-State Breakdown ... (PDF)
(Council for Affordable Health Insurance)

Kaiser statehealthfacts.org

Consumer Guides for Health Insurance in Every State and the District of Columbia (Georgetown University)

View a 5-minute clip

Paper Chase "Health Insurance Challenges: Buyer Beware" 3-3-04
Hearing, Senate Committee on Finance

ERISAclaim.com - U.S. Health-care Crisis
& ERISA Criminal Enforcement

To Avoid "John Q.
ERISA
Enforcement"

The Root of U. S. Healthcare Crisis

Jin Zhou, ERISAclaim.com

The Hearing at Senate Committee on Finance on 3-3-04, [View Video "Health Insurance Challenges: Buyer Beware" 3-3-04
Hearing, Senate Committee on Finance
or Transcript (PDF) (KaiserNetwork.org)]  revealed the mechanism, nature and extent of ERISA failure and nonenforcement as the reasons for "Growth in Bogus Health Insurance Plans Targeting Desperate Small Business Owners", as being concluded as "No the results are not good. It’s a tragedy." by Ann Combs, assistant secretary of DOL. The mechanism, nature and extent of ERISA failure and nonenforcement as presented at the Hearing are universally true and applicable to all health care claim denials and delays in managed care environment from all employer sponsored health plans as the root of U. S. healthcare crisis.

This is a 911 call on "healthcare 9/11 disaster"!

THE 9/11 COMMISSION REPORT (pdf)

Coding and billing are less than half of the successful reimbursement practice, coding and billing are not appealing and coverage dispute practice. Many coders and billers are wonderful, non-confrontational and very sophisticated individuals, but they might be terrible and counterproductive debaters, and less than ideal legal reasoning and logical thinkers. Many financial executives are hands-free managers in reimbursement divisions.

The latest Harvard & RAND study for Congress and state legislative debate on Patients' Bills of Rights, conducted by David Studdert and Carole Roan Gresenz, study authors from the Harvard School of Public Health and RAND, funded by federal government, Department Of Labor, and Agency for Health Care Research and Quality, revealed that "little is publicly known about such appeals system", and concluded that "A majority of preservice appeals disputed choice of provider or contractual coverage issues, rather than medical necessity. Medical necessity disputes proliferate not around life-saving treatments but in areas of societal uncertainty about the legitimate boundaries of insurance coverage. Greater transparency about the coverage status of specific services, through more precise contractual language and consumer education about benefits limitations, may help to avoid a large proportion of disputes in managed care."

 

DOJ: Criminal Resource Manual 2432 Coercive or Fraudulent Interference with ERISA Rights -- 29 U.S.C. 1141

2432 Coercive or Fraudulent Interference with ERISA Rights -- 29 U.S.C. 1141

Title 29 U.S.C. § 1141 states:

 

"It shall be unlawful for any person through the use of fraud, force, violence, or threat of the use of force or violence, to restrain, coerce, intimidate, or attempt to restrain, coerce, or intimidate any participant or beneficiary for the purpose of interfering with or preventing the exercise of any right to which he is or may become entitled under the plan, this title, section 3001, or the Welfare and Pension Plans Disclosure Act. Any person who willfully violates this section shall be fined $10,000 or imprisoned for not more than one year, or both. The amount of fine is governed by 18 U.S.C. § 3571. The U.S. Sentencing Guidelines address 29 U.S.C. § 1141 under the guidelines for "Fraud and Deceit" (U.S.S.G. § 2F1.1) or for "Extortion by Force or Threat of Injury or Serious Damage (U.S.S.G. § 2B3.2)......"

 

"For example, Section 1141 would reach the use of deception directed at misleading a welfare plan beneficiary as to the amount of health benefits owed to the beneficiary under the terms of the plan or at misleading a pension plan participant as to the amount of retirement benefits to which he would become entitled under the plan upon his retirement."

 

ERISA in the United States Code

ERISA 510 29 USC 1140 Interference with protected rights.
ERISA 511 29 USC 1141 Coercive interference.

The updated Harvard & RAND study, funded by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), published on June 18, 2003 through Health Affairs, examined the outcomes of nearly a half-million coverage requests in two large medical groups that contract with health plans to deliver care and conduct utilization review, and discovered the urgency and necessity of expertise of ERISA claim procedure specialists. The study concludes the following in its summary and policy implications:  "....We found much higher denial rates than those previously reported.....Denials made on contractual grounds—the largest share of denials—may call for both clinical and contractual expertise. Hence, they should ideally be made by personnel who are versant in both areas. There was some evidence of this sort of dual expertise being brought to bear on coverage decisions at the two groups we studied."

Reasons for Denial Prospectively
(RAND/Harvard Study Fund by DOL)

Not a Contractually Covered Services
 (Policy Exclusion)

42%

Not medically necessary

29%

Provider Choice (Out Of Network)

22%

Other/unknown

7%

  1. "Prospective denials of coverage on grounds of medical necessity are only a small part of the overall picture."

  2. “Retrospective requests were nearly four times more likely than prospective ones were to be denied”

  3. "Denials made on contractual grounds—the largest share of denials—may call for both clinical and contractual expertise. Hence, they should ideally be made by personnel who are versant in both areas".

"......In this environment, contractual coverage and medical-necessity issues that persist are likely to be for services that enrollees feel especially strongly about. Such consumer concerns, together with ongoing consumer protection agendas that include reforms such as guaranteed external review and right-to-sue provisions, mean that the policy importance of UR denials in managed care is unlikely to wane in the foreseeable future."

A JAMA Editorial commenting this study further supported the conclusion of this study and advanced the right solutions more precisely at New ERISA Claim Regulations: "Regulations issued by the Clinton administration in 2000 were designed to infuse rigor into the appeals process maintained by employer-sponsored health plans covered by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA),10 which governs insurance arrangements for more than 150 million workers and their family members. Whether these rules will be vigorously enforced remains to be seen."

However these best experts "hired" by Congress and federal government are one step away from the complete discovery and solution. Let us fill in the missing links and connect dots in order to save our health-care system from collapsing and crisis.

First, we identify the controlling force and power in contractual policy coverage denial. The majority of Americans are covered under the employer-sponsored health-care programs in private sectors under ERISA, 80% of the claims and 60% of health expenditures are regulated under ERISA. Each individual ERISA plan offers different coverage and benefits, either self-insured or fully-insured through purchase of insurance from an insurance company. The controlling and governing document for each ERISA plan is Summary Plan Description (SPD), the rule of the game for interpreting each SPD and resolving the disputes on contractual denials is ERISA claims procedure regulations. Therefore the experts from Harvard & Rand study group discovered the importance and necessity of "contractual expertise" but aborted the solution of "contractual expertise" due to "the reasons of size or financial stress, this may be beyond the reach of smaller medical groups that have assumed responsibility for UR".

Financial burden and unavailability of this contractual expertise could be the final resolution to their study group to determine if those contractual denials were made by the plan or TPA correctly.

Clinical knowledge and expertise from those medical groups are inherited, but "contractual expertise" is missing badly for policy coverage, Summary Plan Description (SPD) and ERISA Claims Procedure for 80% of health care claims, because such ERISA contractual expertise is nowhere to be found, even for those very experienced health care attorneys and insurance coverage experts, as state law governed insurance policy dispute resolution and ERISA governed claims procedure dispute resolution are quite different, and entire country has never put ERISA into health-care practice. This is why our health-care system failed.

Another new Rand/Harvard study published on February 2004 issue of Annals of Emergency Medicine, "Disputes over coverage of emergency department services: A study of two health maintenance organizations" discovered that 90% of denial in utilization reviews were overturned on appeals, from a stratified random sample of approximately 3,500 appeals of coverage denials lodged by privately insured enrollees between 1998 and 2000 at 2 of the nation's largest HMOs. This study concludes: "The prevalence of ED cases among all appeals reflects disagreement between lay and expert judgments about what constitutes emergency care under the prudent layperson standard. The high rate at which enrollees win these appeals highlights significant disagreement in interpretation of the standard among different adjudicators within managed care organizations (medical groups and health plans). When enrollees fail to challenge denials that would be reversed on appeal, they bear the financial brunt of ambiguities in interpretation of the prudent layperson standard."

This new Rand/Harvard study warns that "Although the end result for consumers is the same in each of these cases, the messages sent by plans to consumers and medical groups are not. Goodwill payments imply inappropriate use of the ED (notwithstanding the fact that actual merit might not have been assessed). Merit-based overturns, on the other hand, signal an error in utilization review and instruct medical groups about the proper limits of coverage, instructions that medical groups cannot ignore because they must meet the cost of these claims. Hence, merit-based overturns perform a valuable signaling function, akin to the role of judicial precedent in the law. Unless plans invest additional effort in educating utilization reviewers about erroneous decisions for which they are not held financially accountable, goodwill payments of potentially meritorious cases limit opportunities to forge consensus about the limits of the prudent layperson standard and to disseminate accumulated knowledge about its meaning."

Importantly, ERISA claim regulation and definition of "claim involving urgent care", 29CFR2560.503-1 (m)(1) - Claims Procedure, has provided governing solutions to "disagreement between lay and expert judgments about what constitutes emergency care under the prudent layperson standard." for these privately insured enrollees. And "Unless plans invest additional effort in educating utilization reviewers about erroneous decisions for which they are not held financially accountable," and ERISA claim regulation and  definition of "claim involving urgent care'', goodwill solution will result in backslash for more disasters in Emergency Department across the country.

"Forty states required individuals to first exhaust their health policy’s internal appeals and grievance process before seeking external review." (GAO, September 2003, Page 46)  The health policy’s internal appeals and grievance process = ERISA appeals 80% of the time.

If 80% of the health-care claim and 60% of health expenditures are governed and regulated by ERISA, ERISA plan's "insurance policy" is controlled by each plan's Summary Plan Description (SPD), and each claim dispute is resolved under ERISA claims procedure regulations, such "contractual expertise", called for by our Rand/Harvard experts, must be from ERISA claim procedure specialists.

Therefore, it is absolutely clear that our nation must provide a solution to health-care crisis by urgently establishing an industry or profession that will possess not only clinical expertise but also, and more importantly, ERISA contractual expertise, ERISA claim procedure expertise.

This valuable study has pointed out the direction but failed to provide a turnkey practical solution.

Both Aetna and CIGNA have agreed to settle the class-action lawsuits by 950,000 physicians and agreed to process appeals in accordance with ERISA claim regulations for both ERISA claims and non-ERISA claims, and to establish external review boards for Billing and Coding Disputes, Medical Necessity Disputes and Policy Coverage Disputes, in compliance with state external review laws, however external reviews will not be available until internal appeals/ERISA appeals are completely exhausted.

All other 8 major insurance companies named in class-action lawsuits have refused to settle, even if federal court would rule for physicians, the Aetna and CIGNA settlements will be "as good as it could get" from the rest of insurers and MCO's as evidenced in Aetna and CIGNA settlements with physicians.

Unless physicians understand and complete ERISA internal appeals, all of those
"a love fest" and "victories" from class-action settlements would mean a fantasy of "a love fest"  to any physicians.

A striking parallel phenomena is also true in the insurance and benefits industry, as described above for medical coding and billing personnel. With the industry compliance tips for the insurance/benefits industry, offered through AAHP in complying with new federal claim regulation, reflected the same problems but provided no practical solutions, the industry is strategically revising the rules of claim processors: "We're taking the claims processors out of the loop. They're good at what they do, but they definitely aren't lawyers. We don't necessarily want them to be making discretionary decisions", said James L. Touse, vice president and associate general counsel for BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, at a 2002 policy conference sponsored by the American Association of Health Plans.

That is why, starting January 1, 2003, Aetna and any other insurance companies/ERISA plans have come up with a brand-new programsAppeals Administration Services program, parallel to our certification program, in response to this new ERISA Storm, Real Protections for Health-care Providers and Patients, while health-care providers nationwide are still in sleeping mode pursuing moon project of protections through recycling, reinventing and salvaging the ERISA storm and protection as a result of 28 year ERISA health-care crisis and refinery process.

From medical coders and billers & insurance claim processors to lawyers for physicians and insurance companies, the occupational and professional gap is a vacuum and too huge to be ignored by both insurance industry and health-care provider industry. A new occupation or profession has to be developed to handle such huge crisis: ERISA health-care Claim Specialists and Department, to bridge the gap FROM medical coders and billers & insurance claim processors TO lawyers.

The prevalent industry practice has proven to be risky by increasing service charges, maximum reimbursement can only be achieved through compliance with ERISA, among many other applicable federal and state laws and regulations.

Traditionally health-care providers and facilities have little or no knowledge of ERISA claim procedures when dealing with health-care claim disputes and denials.  They will outsource billing and coding to independent services in hope to recover these claims to reduce denial rates, while most of these claim denials are not in dispute of coding and billing, and independent coding and billing services offer only billing and coding services.  Or they will demand physicians for better clinical documentations in hope to reverse denial decisions while documentations are not in dispute for the denied claims.  Without any luck and success and having tried every efforts through state and national medical associations for organized fighting back campaign with little or no success, most of them automatically turn these denied claims to outside consumer collection agencies to collect from patients, while collection agency generally only collects undisputed debts instead of disputed or denied claims for reimbursement.  Under current recession economy and escalating health cost environment, most of these consumer collection practice resulted little success in collecting money from patients, but more frustrations, and loss of marketing share with negative public relations or possible backfiring from patients with lawsuits for medical malpractice or consumer fraud.

In year 2002 $1.55 trillion were spent in health care business in this country, 14.9%  of GDP, entire national domestic product.  One-third of health-care claims were completely denied without any challenges, while rest of them partially and significantly denied.  Physicians and hospitals have to write off more than 30 percent of service claims while cost of doing business and volumes of patient loads are increasing uncontrollably.  Under managed care environment, health-care reimbursement rates have been worsening each year to a point where most physicians and hospitals are significantly threatened and some of them  were unfortunately driven out of business.

According to latest hospital CEOs survey conducted by American College of Health-care Executives in November 2002, of the 984 hospital CEOs respondents, 65% named reimbursement issues in top three concerns.

The Latest AMA (PSA) Managed Care Hassles Survey through nationwide state medical associations and national medical specialty societies identified the most popular and important managed-care claim denials and delays.

Top Seven Issues through National Medical Specialty Societies

Rank

Problems Reported By Popularity Rank

  %

1

Bundling

67%

2

Medical Necessity Decision Denials

43%

3

Prompt Payment

43%

4

Administrative Hassles

33%

5

Coding Issues

24%

6

Downcoding

19%

7

Bargaining Lack of Negotiation Power

14%

Top Eight Most Importantly & Frequently Listed Issues through
State Medical Associations

Rank

Problems Reported By Importance Rank

1

Downcoding & Bundling

2

Prompt Payment

3

Lack of Budgeting Power

4

Medical Necessity Denials

5

Prior Authorization of Med. Services

6

Health Plan Credentialing

7

Drug Formularies

8

Other

In today's progressively worsening health-care and budget crisis since World War II, any health-care executive strategy, without mastering or complying with ERISA, has been proven failing since inception of managed care practice, unless a new health-care reimbursement and compliance model is established and implemented to immediately create a new line of ERISA reimbursement personnels and occupation, "ERISA Healthcare Claim Appeals and Reimbursement Specialists and Departments", no one in this country can stop and survive our failing health care system crisis.

After a one year delay, New Federal Benefit Claims Procedure Regulation has become effective January 01, 2003 for almost all of the private group health plans. It will affect about 80% of health-care claims or 60% of health expenditures, approximately 6 million private health and welfare plans and approximately 150 Million Workers and their dependents  in the U. S..

Contrary to the popular belief, the regulation provides more protections for physicians and patients than state insurance and Prompt Pay Laws, and more protections and clarifications for insurance companies and the ERISA plan sponsors as well as the third party benefits administrators than state laws in punitive damages as proposed in Patients Bill Of Rights.

However, failure to understand and comply timely with the regulation  will invite and suffer from unanticipated financial and legal consequences.

Any traditional and conventional appeals without ERISA COMPLIANCE are "squeaky wheel appeals" for any ERISA claim denials and delays, 80 percent of U.S. Healthcare claims and 60% of U.S. Healthcare expenditure.

Only appeals with full ERISA compliance will ensure maximum reimbursement or crisis turnaround at minimum cost and frustrations.

   Aetna (DOL/ERISA), First Health, Blue Cross Blue Shield are ready to comply with new federal regulation (BCBSIL) (BCBSMI) (BCBSCNY) (BCBSNE) (CareFirstBCBS) & (BCBSAL),  are you ready to get paid faster and fairer?

From Aetna's ERISA yesterday (Aetna Video Shows ERISA Patients Mistreated) to Aetna's ERISA today (DOL/ERISA) = Aetna ERISA Actions or intention in compliance and in control.

From AMA's ERISA yesterday (The latest Harvard & RAND study) to AMA's ERISA today (JAMA Editorial) =ERISA Actions or Not?

That's why physicians, healthcare providers and hospitals must wake up on ERISA now!

AMA has finally noticed the existence and effective date of this new federal claim regulation, as described in its January 20, 2003 online edition of American Medical News: "Federal regulations that dictate rapid turnaround times for health plan claims and appeals quietly went into effect this month, with little noise from the managed care industry."

However AMA has failed, as it did in past 28 years, to practically and meaningfully understand the ERISA and its significance as protections for health-care providers, entire industry has failed to offer any educational programs and occupational trainings to health-care providers in this most important federal law and regulation that governs and regulates up to 80% of health-care claims and 60% of U.S. healthcare expenditures.

As reported by AMA as to the time it may take for this new federal claim regulation to take effect in marketplace, Jeffery Mandell, president of the ERISA Law Group in Boise, Idaho, states "it often takes years, even decades, for the marketplace to fully adopt new regulations". Life is too short, our nation's health-care system is going through the worst crisis since World War II and can't afford another 28 years to realize and implement the ERISA regulations. We, everyone including health-care providers, legislators, regulators and insurance companies, should take immediate actions to educate everyone in the system and to implement this new federal claim regulation as we are fighting against terrorists to save our nation's health-care system from worse-than-terror-war crisis.

For Maximum Reimbursement through ERISA Compliance

For Reimbursement/Financial Crisis Turnaround

To Take Advantage of Nation's First
ERISA Compliance Network Focused on
 

ERISA Healthcare Claim Appeals and Reimbursement

 

ERISA Failure Syndrome
U.S. Healthcare Crisis Trilogy
(Copyright © 2004 by Jin Zhou,  ERISAclaim.com)

 

ERISA
Medical Killing
ERISA
Medical Inflation
ERISA
Insurance Robbery
"Health Insurance Challenges: Buyer Beware" 3-3-04
Hearing, Senate Committee on Finance

Read Making a Killing

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Bar graph showing trends in hospital charges and revenues in California from 1995-2002

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GAO-04-312
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American Job ExportING!

Mass layoffs up in January 2004

Weirton Steel cancels 10,000

GM: $67.5 billion in 2003

One Nation under Debt: U..S. economy threatened by aging of America

 

Healthcare Disaster at Fault Verdict Index:

U.S. Government 30%

U.S. Employers & Insurers 30%

Healthcare Providers 30%

Consumers 10%

Rx-1  $$$$$$$$$ERISA"Health Insurance Challenges: Buyer Beware" 3-3-04
Hearing, Senate Committee on Finance
$$$$$$$$$$  Rx-2

 

Why ERISA Network Support for Health-care Providers???

  1. Health-care claim denial problems have fundamentally threatened health-care providers business survival;

  2. Up to 1/3 health-care claims was completely denied, rest of them partially and significantly denied.  Up to $500 billion were denied health-care claims in 2000.

  3. $1.55 trillion were spent in national health-care in 2002, 14.9% of GDP, out of which $207.2 billion were out-of-pocket payments, rest of them are health-care claims through third party reimbursement claims.

  4. ERISA regulates about 80% of health-care claims and is never understood by health-care providers;

  5. Traditional Assignment of Benefits Form used in hospitals and physician's offices does not provide any rights for physicians to dispute with insurance companies over claim denials except for only receiving undisputed and paid claims, according to new government guidance for new claims procedure, Q-B2;

  6. New Federal Claim Procedure, to be effective January 2002, has provided health-care providers with best and maximal protections against improper denials of medical necessity, usual customary and reasonable, policy exclusion, PPO discount and pre-existing conditions, Q-C16, Q-C17, Q-D9 & Q-D10;

  7. Only with proper understanding of what constitutes a sufficient designation of authorized representative, as required by new regulation, to ensure you to obtain ERISA rights guaranteed by federal law and to enjoy maximal protection to protect your business survival and prosperity.

  8. In a letter from Republican Congressional leader, John Boehner, to the Secretary of Labor and insurance/benefits industry, he states that "specifically, we are concerned about provisions in the final rule that go even further than the patients' rights bills passed by the Congress", and he urged DOL to revise and  delay the entire claims regulation.

   View a 5-minute clip    Paper Chase "Health Insurance Challenges: Buyer Beware" 3-3-04
Hearing, Senate Committee on Finance

 Paper Chase in 20% of national healthcare claims has been revealed and scrutinized, while Paper Chase in 80 percent of national healthcare claims ($1.55 trillion) has been ignored by health-care providers due to lack of understanding of ERISA, because ERISA preempts State Laws in 80 percent of healthcare claim Disputes, and third party reviewers are never liable under ERISA, even new Federal Regulations providing more protections (Q-C16, Q-C17, Q-D9 & Q-D10) against such Paper Chase are totally ignored by health-care providers.


Payments Go Under a Microscope (washingtonpost.com)

January 12, 2004

"CareFirst officials said the audit of 2,800 doctors was triggered by an earlier examination of several thousand claims that found 9 of every 10 were inaccurate. "The doctors, we're not saying we don't trust them," said Jeff Valentine, a CareFirst spokesman. "But as President Reagan said a number of years ago: 'Trust, but verify.' "

"The largest insurer of all, the federal government, recently estimated that the Medicare program overpaid doctors, hospitals and other health-care providers by $11.6 billion in 2002, according to an audit of 128,000 claims. The audit found many providers submitted insufficient documentation (45 percent), billed for medically unnecessary services (22 percent) and used incorrect codes to describe patient visits (12 percent)."

"A larger audit is planned this year. "The digging now is much deeper," said Leslie V. Norwalk, chief operating officer of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the government agency known as CMS. "Any dollar overpaid is a dollar too much."

"MAMSI and CareFirst recoup overpayments to doctors by making deductions from future reimbursements. Doctors can appeal insurers' decisions. But, in the end, they usually pay up, doctors and insurers agree."

 

"January 5, 2004 - PHILADELPHIA – United States Attorney Patrick L. Meehan announced today the filing of the Government's complaint against national accounting firm Ernst & Young. According to the complaint, nine hospitals paid Ernst & Young for billing advice – advice which later caused the submission of false claims to the Medicare program."

.....

"It is the responsibility of an independent reviewer to be alert to fraud and abuse and certainly not to ignore it," said Meehan. "In this case, as the complaint alleges, Ernst & Young kept itself deliberately ignorant of the facts."

Aetna:  Leading the Fight Against Health Care Fraud [PDF] View as HTML

"Thanks to this highly collaborative relationship, we know how to identify fraud because we know what to look for.

Medical Fraud

  1. Unusual provider billing practices.

  2. Discrepancy between the submitted diagnosis and the treatment.

  3. Diagnoses or treatments that are outside the practitioner’s scope of practice.

  4. Claims that are resubmitted with coding changes to gain benefits.

  5. Alterations on claim submissions.

  6. Pressure for quick claim payment."

Labor Department Sues Corporation For Violating Federal Employee Benefit Law (Release Date: 02/02/2004)

Effective Corporate Compliance Programs for Health Care Organizations (pdf) (Ernst & Young)

"An executive summary to our 52-page overview of the government's efforts to detect and punish health care fraud and abuse, with guidelines on how organizations can develop an effective corporate compliance program. (Adobe Acrobat - 708K)

Strengthening Ethical Cultures: The Emerging Role of Compliance Programs and Officers in Managed Care Organizations (Ernst & Young)

U.S. House of Representative Seal

February 5, 2003, H. R. 957 (pdf)
February 5, 2003, H. R. 956 (pdf)

Norwood Introduces The Patient Protection & ERISA Clarification Acts

A New Diagnosis & Solution:
EFS-- ERISA FAILURE SYNDROME--Fatality: 31 YOA
 

ERISA Failure, Noncompliance and Nonenforcement of ERISA SPD and Claims Procedure Rules, Is the Damaged or Missing Foam on U.S. Healthcare Wings!

HMO Crisis Is Really An ERISA Crisis!

HMO & PPO Managed Care Contracting to 
Disregard & Substitute
ERISA SPD & Claims Procedure
Is The Primary & Inevitable Cause of Medical Inflation

Costly Managed Care & Medical Malpractice Lawsuits
American Job Export!

 

ERISA Failure Damages Are Greater Than
9/11 and Pearl Harbor Tragedies Combined
U.S. Health-care Crisis & ERISA Criminal Enforcement

 

Only practical solution is to cut the skyrocketing healthcare care costs and increase the healthcare coverage and benefits at the same time without having to go to Congress to reinvent another new "Mars Project" or "Universal Uninsured Bill of Right" - "John Q. ERISA Enforcement".

A New Diagnosis & Prescription for
Our Nation's Health-care Crisis

    Contrary to the popular belief,  our nation's health-care crisis has been truly and mainly caused by the lack of understanding and failing in compliance with ERISA, the federal law regulating about 80% of health-care claims or 60% of health expenditures in the U. S. by both insurance/benefits industry and health-care providers for 28 years, through reckless and fraudulent as well as revengeful, inflationary spiral billings and claim denials that destroyed or foreclosed the hope, faith and the Law & Order for our nation in health-care quality and cost control, and the lack of meaningful and practical federal administrative enforcement of ERISA claim regulations, because this inflationary spiral skyrocketing increases in managed care claim and denial war behind ERISA shield between health insurers/ERISA plans and healthcare providers have overwhelmingly outnumbered increases in cost of living and national gross domestic products, causing annual double-digit increases in health insurance premiums and skyrocket health-care costs ($1.55 trillion in 2002, 14.9% of the U.S GDP) after every managed care strategy and model failed to contain or control health-care costs in long run despite short-term savings, while entire country has devoted more and more money in litigation, legislation and noncompliant managed care campaign, which practically have solved little or no problem.

    In order to resuscitate U.S. Healthcare/managed care from such a critical condition, the strategy and solution must to be a common ground acceptable to all parties involved, instead of hostile and contradictory debate of punitive damage therapy vs. the uninsured coverage in Congress. This common ground for our national health-care crisis is the ERISA Claim Regulations, applicable and existing laws and regulations on the book, originally designed by Congress in 1974 to regulate health-care claim dispute and to avoid fiduciary breach and failures we are facing today.

    A new practical and effective solution to saving our nation's health-care system is  to implement ERISA as Congress intended by creating a new occupation or profession, ERISA claim specialists and departments, t0 bridge the gap FROM medical billers and coders & insurance claim processors TO lawyers for both health-care providers and insurance companies/ERISA plans, and to educate everyone in  health-care and employee benefits system, health-care providers and their associations and leaders, IPA's, MCO's, health insurance, employee benefits TPA's and legislators as well as regulators to truly understand ERISA, and comply with existing ERISA's claim procedures and benefits administration rules, to make practical sense for health insurance delivered as employee welfare benefits under ERISA, protecting participants and beneficiaries and safeguarding plan assets through compliance of ERISA laws and regulations by everyone.

    How do we know this is the right diagnosis and prescription?

Plain and simple, imagine what would happen if the U.S. healthcare superhighway transported $1.55 trillion for 283 million Americans each year without an understanding, without compliance by any one and without the enforcement of any existing laws and regulations governing those 80% of the healthcare claims, 60% of the healthcare expenditures and 163 million Americans under ERISA?

The latest Harvard & RAND study for Congress and state legislative debate on Patients' Bills of Rights, conducted by David Studdert and Carole Roan Gresenz, study authors from the Harvard School of Public Health and RAND, funded by federal government, Department Of Labor, and Agency for Health Care Research and Quality, revealed that "little is publicly known about such appeals system", and concluded that "A majority of preservice appeals disputed choice of provider or contractual coverage issues, rather than medical necessity. Medical necessity disputes proliferate not around life-saving treatments but in areas of societal uncertainty about the legitimate boundaries of insurance coverage. Greater transparency about the coverage status of specific services, through more precise contractual language and consumer education about benefits limitations, may help to avoid a large proportion of disputes in managed care.

A JAMA Editorial commenting this study further supported the conclusion of this study and advanced the right solutions more precisely at New ERISA Claim Regulations: "Regulations issued by the Clinton administration in 2000 were designed to infuse rigor into the appeals process maintained by employer-sponsored health plans covered by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA),10 which governs insurance arrangements for more than 150 million workers and their family members. Whether these rules will be vigorously enforced remains to be seen."

This valuable study has pointed out the direction but failed to provide a turnkey practical solution.

ERISAclaim.com has provided this nation with a turnkey operational solution with ERISA compliance, to educate everyone on ERISA, coverage and claim procedures, to ensure "Bill Of Rights" for Patients, Providers, Plan Sponsors and Insurers.

DOL Compliance Assistance for Health Plans

 

 

 


 

 

Statutes (United States Code) 
ERISA - Title 29, Chapter 18. 
   

     Selected links:
Sec. 1002.
Definitions
Sec. 1003.
Coverage
Sec. 1022.
Summary plan description
Sec. 1104.
Fiduciary duties
Sec. 1140.
Interference with protected rights
Sec. 1141.
Coercive interference
part 7
group health plan requirements


 

 

Code of Federal Regulations

Codified in Title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations:
Regulations
        Selected links:
2520.102-3 Contents of summary plan description.
2560.503-1 
Claims procedure.


 

 

ERISA Laws/Rules

ERISA in the United States Code: Cross-reference table, table of contents

 

ERISA in US CODE


 

 

Report of the ERISA Advisory Council's Working Group on Fiduciary Education and Training (U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration)

Excerpt: "We strongly urge anyone interested in the issue of fiduciary education to read through the transcripts of our work group's hearings ..."


 

$10,600 ERISA Claim

Recent Federal Court Ruling in a Case with $10,600 medical claim, insurance Co. refused to pay, provider made numerous demand for payment in almost one year, but no appeals filed, the court dismissed the lawsuit because provider failed to exhaust administrative remedy, as required under ERISA, by filing ERISAclaim appeals.  This situation is so popular in health-care community.

 

$37,350 ERISA Claim

Health-care provider alleged medical claims submitted to Aetna for reimbursement, Aetna asserted no receipt of medical claims, no written denials.  Health-care provider failed to present proof of claim submission, claim denial and ERISA claim appeals. This case was dismissed. ERISA health-care claims are handled in federal court, state law is generally not applicable.

 

 


 

External Review

Patients' Rights: External Review 2000,50 State Comparisons:

New Survey: State External Review Programs (Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation)


 

Prompt Payment


 

Rights Bills


 
NAIC News Release

 

AMNews through  AMA

Health plans subject to new federal appeals rules
Much-postponed regulations offer patients and doctors fairer and faster review, plus new rights, Dept. of Labor says.

 

Managed Care and Patients' Rights
(JAMA Editorial)

 

 

Enrollee Appeals of Preservice Coverage Denials at 2 Health Maintenance Organizations (JAMA Abstract)

 

 

University faces $2M in health care debt

"Nowak said a big part of the medical care issue is education for all people affected by it, which is a top priority of the HCC."


 

 

Cash-poor UCLA hospitals hire turnaround firm  (Los Angeles Times)
"Turnaround firm is asked to increase efficiency and cut costs for the system, which fiscally lags far behind its UC counterparts."

"The largest medical system in the UC chain, UCLA Healthcare reported lower net income than its sister campuses last fiscal year and as of Dec. 31 had only $20,000 cash. By comparison, UC Davis had $183 million in cash, the most systemwide.

UCLA Healthcare -- which includes two hospitals in Westwood and one in Santa Monica -- was forced to borrow $7 million in December from the UCLA chancellor's office to help pay bills."


 

 


 
 

 

Federal Employees Health Benefits Program

FEHB HANDBOOK

   
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