CMS Provides Guidance on Non-Federal Governmental Plans
CMS recently updated its guidance that provides an overview of the federal market requirements applicable to non-federal governmental plans, including self-funded and fully insured plans. As background, CMS is the entity that oversees compliance and enforcement of the Public Health Service Act (PHSA) and applicable provisions of the ACA for group health plans related to municipal governments, school districts, fire departments, and funds that pool together a number of smaller municipalities.
The guidance gives a general overview of the laws that apply to non-federal governmental plans, including the ACA and PHSA. They also discuss which of these laws don’t apply to these plans.
There is also helpful information regarding the assistance that CMS makes available to help plans remain compliant, including technical assistance, website resources and information, and access to subject matter experts within CMS that have specialized knowledge.
The guidance also discusses CMS’ investigative process. Specifically, investigations into plan compliance generally begin through inquiries or complaints from enrollees or representatives. If CMS discovers a plan is non-compliant, they will initiate enforcement action and work to create a corrective action plan to bring the areas identified into compliance and, if necessary, require that the plan compensate enrollees who did not receive the benefits or processes to which they were entitled. Once the plan documents and processes are fully compliant, CMS will approve notices to enrollees and the appropriate method for compensation (if necessary, for both). CMS will end the investigation only upon confirmation that all steps within the corrective action plan are carried out (usually, this includes compensated enrollees).
While this information is not new, it does serve as a reminder of the importance of compliance for non-federal governmental plans.