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The scoop for ISMS practice management professionals

October 2017
In this Issue

  • 'Ask ISMS' and Get Your Questions Answered

    Our "Ask ISMS" feature in Off the Charts is dedicated to your questions.

    Of course, as a practice management professional of an ISMS member, you may contact the ISMS advocacy team with your questions at any time by calling 800-782-4767 ext. 1470, or by sending an email.

    This installment of "Ask ISMS" will cover the change coming to Medicare cards.

    To prevent fraud and help fight identity theft, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is taking steps to remove the social security number from beneficiaries' cards. ISMS is preparing educational materials for members and their staff to help with the transition, which will begin in April 2018 and span nearly 18 months. 

    Q What will the social security numbers be replaced with?

    A The social security numbers will be replaced with a unique, randomly selected Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) – an 11-digit number using alpha and numeric characters. The MBI number will replace the current Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN), which is based on the individual’s social security number.  

    Q When will this change take place?  

    A CMS plans to mail the new cards to beneficiaries beginning in April 2018. Medicare is also proposing a transition process that will run from April 2018 through Dec. 31, 2019. CMS anticipates practices will be able to use both the new MBI and the current HICN during the transition period. However, the MBI will be the only identifier accepted after Dec. 31, 2019. Also note that beginning April 1, 2018, all newly enrolled Medicare beneficiaries will be issued an MBI only. So even though the transition extends through 2019, MBIs will be the only identifier for beneficiaries new to the Medicare program in 2018.

    Q How are beneficiaries being notified?  

    A CMS will conduct beneficiary outreach and education efforts in the near future. Later this fall, the American Medical Association and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will make available poster displays that can be used in physician offices to alert patients who are affected that their Medicare cards will be changing. 

    Q What is ISMS planning to do? 

    A ISMS is planning to develop a dedicated web page, publish a corresponding Issue Brief and offer a webinar for physicians and office staff. The ISMS advocacy team is also available to provide individualized assistance to members and their practice staff upon request.

    Q What can I do now?

    A Begin by advising Medicare beneficiaries that their identification cards will be changing. 

    Also initiate a review to confirm your Medicare patients' addresses. If what you receive on any electronic transaction is different than what you have on file, ask the patient to update their information with the Social Security Administration.

    ISMS is here to assist and will keep you posted on the initiative. Watch future editions of our Physician Advocate  and Off the Charts  newsletters, as well as our web site, for tools and updates concerning this initiative. 

    If you have questions in the meantime, contact the ISMS Division of Member Advocacy at 800-782-4767 ext. 1470, or by email.

  • Do Your Patients Need Help Navigating Illinois’ Insurance Exchange for 2018?

    It's that time of year when you're bound to get questions from patients who are thinking about purchasing insurance for 2018 through Get Covered Illinois – the state's health insurance Marketplace. Despite an uncertain future, open enrollment will begin November 1 for patients seeking coverage.

    Important to note: The open enrollment period for 2018 is shorter than previous years by several weeks, running Nov. 1, 2017, to Dec. 15, 2017.

    Currently enrolled patients will be automatically re-enrolled in a similar policy for 2018 if they take no action. However, they should be aware that most plans change each year – even if they are operated by the same insurance company. If currently enrolled patients would like to make changes, they must also do so during the open enrollment period.

    ISMS offers a FREE patient education flyer on Marketplace coverage for 2018. Be sure to keep a stack on hand to distribute to your patients or post to your web site. 

    For more details, visit ISMS' Marketplace web page.

    Practice management professionals of an ISMS member may contact our advocacy team with questions by calling 800-782-4767 ext. 1470, or by sending an email.

  • Illinois Patients Who Purchase Commercial Health Insurance Will Have New Protections!

    ISMS fought long and hard to help enact the Network Adequacy and Transparency Act (NAT Act), which was recently signed into law. This legislation will protect patients who purchase state-regulated private health plans.

    Commercial health insurers were on a course of downsizing patient options by establishing "narrow networks." Patients have increasingly encountered unwelcome surprises, such as learning mid-year that their trusted doctor was no longer in their network. Many were also shocked when they received bills reflecting out-of-network charges. 

    The NAT Act provisions will apply to plans issued in 2019.

    To learn more about the new protections, read our article in Physician Advocate

  • Is Your Practice a Medical Corporation? License Renewal Deadline is December 31

    Be sure that your medical office renews its corporate license by Dec. 31, 2017!

    Medical corporations, limited liability companies, and professional service corporations in the state are required by law to obtain a license annually from the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR).

    Last year, many medical offices may not have received a license renewal notification due to IDFPR switching over to a new, electronic process – which may explain why an unusually high number of medical corporations missed the renewal deadline.

    Regardless of the date on which the license was issued, medical corporation licenses expire at the end of each year – December 31.

    IDFPR has indicated that the renewal period is expected to open in mid-October.

    To learn more, access ISMS' newest Issue Brief, Licensure for Medical Corporations, Limited Liability Companies and Professional Service Corporations. This resource covers corporate structures and licensure deadlines, along with a detailed FAQ section.

    To renew or apply for a license, access this Online Services Portal.

    If you have questions, contact David Porter at 312-580-2468 or by email.

    This ISMS resource is a member benefit and is password protected. If you wish to access this Issue Brief and need to request a username and password as a practice management professional of an ISMS member, please contact us.

  • Access ISMS’ Popular Flu Resource for the 2017-2018 Season

    According to the Illinois Department of Public health, the flu season is well underway!

    Access ISMS' handy one-look Influenza Formulation and Coding Guide, which organizes important vaccine information based on manufacturer, dosage, demographics, billing and diagnosis codes, and more for the 2017-2018 season.

    Important notice: Based on data from the past two flu seasons, there are still concerns about the effectiveness of the nasal spray vaccine. So for the 2017-2018 season, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices is recommending the flu shot and not the nasal spray

    For more information, visit our comprehensive Immunizations and Vaccinations web page.

    If you have questions, practice management professionals of an ISMS member may contact the ISMS health policy team at 800-782-4767 ext. 1470 or by email.

    This ISMS resource is a member benefit and is password protected. If you wish to access this flu resource and need to request a username and password as a practice management professional of an ISMS member, please contact us.

  • Get a Refresh on Consent Requirements for Minor Patients

    Physicians in your office may provide certain services to minor patients without parental consent under certain circumstances. ISMS offers a medical legal guideline, Parental Powers/Minors, detailing minor consent requirements that relate to:

    • Medical and surgical services.
    • Birth control services.
    • Sexually transmitted diseases and chemical abuse.
    • HIV.
    • Child and elder abuse and neglect reporting.
    • Minors of dissolved marriages.

     This ISMS resource is a member benefit and is password protected. If you wish to access this medical legal guideline and need to request a username and password as a practice management professional of an ISMS member, please contact us.

  • Save on Medical Office Products and Services You Use Each Day!

    Save cash on everyday business expenses with CCPA Purchasing Partners, a doctors-only buying group.

    Through group negotiations, significant savings and favorable payment terms are available with vaccine manufacturers, medical and office suppliers, and medical waste disposal services. 

    There are no minimum purchase requirements with vendors or vaccine companies in order to receive discounted pricing, and there are no monthly or annual dues. 

    Learn more about CCPA membership options today.

    CCPA Purchasing Partners is an ISMS Benefit Partner.

  • National Uniform Claim Committee Seeks Your Feedback on the '1500 Form'

    The National Uniform Claim Committee* is conducting a survey to gather information on the current use of the 1500 Health Insurance Claim Form (1500 Form), both as a paper form and as a print image. Responses will remain confidential and all feedback is appreciated.

    Take the survey here.

    If you have any questions about the survey, please send an email to the committee. 

    The survey will close after Friday, Nov. 10, 2017.

    *The National Uniform Claim Committee (NUCC) was created in 1995 to develop a standardized data set for use by the non-institutional health care community to transmit claim and encounter information to and from all third-party payers. The NUCC is intended to have an authoritative voice regarding national standard content and data definitions for non-institutional health care claims in the United States.

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