The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has provided more details on the $100 billion of relief funds provided for the healthcare industry under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
This funding is intended to support healthcare providers with expenses or lost revenue attributable to COVID-19 and to reimburse them for treating uninsured COVID-19 patients.
HHS announced that $30 billion will be distributed immediately to eligible healthcare providers, with payments arriving via direct deposit beginning on April 10, 2020. Since these are payments, not loans, the funds will not need to be repaid.
The initial $30 billion will be distributed among all facilities and providers that received Medicare fee-for-service (FFS) reimbursements in 2019. Payments will be sent to the address associated with the provider’s TIN or to a medical group’s central billing office.
In exchange for receiving these funds, providers must agree not to seek collection of out-of-pocket payments from a COVID-19 patient that are greater than what the patient would have been required to an in-network provider.
The size of a provider’s payment will be calculated by dividing their 2019 Medicare FFS (not including Medicare Advantage) payments they received by $484 billion and multiplying that ratio by $30 billion.
HHS has partnered with UnitedHealth Group (UHG) to provide rapid delivery of these payments via the ACH account information on file with UHG or the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Providers who normally receive a paper check for reimbursement from CMS, will receive a paper check in the mail within the next few weeks.
Within 30 days of receiving the payment, providers must sign an online attestation confirming receipt of the funds and agreeing to the terms and conditions of payment.
This relief is being made in addition to emergency loans healthcare providers have already received under the CMS Accelerated and Advance Payment Program.
The remaining $70 billion of healthcare industry relief will be focused on providers in areas particularly impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak, rural providers, providers of services with lower shares of Medicare reimbursement or who predominantly serve the Medicaid population, and providers requesting reimbursement for the treatment of uninsured Americans.