CMS extends contracts with two DMERCs

Sunday, April 16, 2006

WASHINGTON - A delay in the transition to Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs) has forced CMS to extend its contracts with the current DMERCs in Regions C and D, agency officials stated during an Open Door forum last week.

CMS has extended its contracts with Cigna Government Services, the Region D DMERC, and with Palmetto GBA, the Region C DMERC, until Sept. 30.

CMS announced in late March that it would delay the transition to MACs in Regions C and D until Oct. 1 due to a protest filed by Cigna. Cigna bid on the MAC contracts for both regions but lost them to Palmetto GBA (Region C) and Noridian Administrative Services (Region D).

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) must rule on the protest on or before May 4.

The transition to MACs in Regions A (National Heritage Insurance) and B (AdminaStar) will occur on July 1 as planned.

The MACs are part of Medicare's reconfiguring of the DMERCs into two specialty contractors. The MACs will handle claims processing, customer service and other day-to-day operations. The Program Safety Contractors (PSAs), overseen by a medical director, began handling program integrity duties March 1.