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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions are used to provide additional information and/or statutory guidance not found in State Medicaid Director Letters, State Health Official Letters, or CMCS Informational Bulletins. The different sets of FAQs as originally released can be accessed below.Frequently Asked Questions are used to provide additional information and/or statutory guidance not found in State Medicaid Director Letters, State Health Official Letters, or CMCS Informational Bulletins. The different sets of FAQs as originally released can be accessed below.

FAQ Library

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How will the Medicaid Eligibility Quality Control (MEQC) program be realigned under the final regulation issued July 5, 2017?

As reconfigured under the final regulation of July 5, 2017, MEQC will work in conjunction with the Payment Error Rate Measurement (PERM) program. In those years when states undergo their triennial PERM reviews, the states will not conduct MEQC pilots. The latter will only be required in the two off-years between PERM review years. CMS has restructured the MEQC program so that it more effectively complements the PERM program and provides states with the necessary flexibility and opportunity to target specific problems or high-interest areas during the two off-years of the PERM cycle.

FAQ ID:93146

How does Medicaid Eligibility Quality Control (MEQC) differ from Payment Error Rate Measurement (PERM)?

The MEQC requirements on active case reviews generally mirror the requirements of the eligibility component of PERM reviews. The regulation requires that states perform reviews of a sample of active Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) cases to identify new eligibility approvals and renewals that were made in error. As in PERM, states will be required to submit case-level reports on the sampled cases they review and corrective action plans that describe steps taken to remediate the errors found.

However, in contrast to PERM, when states identify errors in their active Medicaid and CHIP cases, they will be required to undertake a payment review. This will consist of a review of all claims paid over the first three months after an erroneous eligibility determination was made, and a summary of the overstated or understated liability. States will in turn be required to submit adjustments to the amount of federal financial participation (FFP) claimed through the CMS-64 reporting process for Medicaid and the CMS-21 reporting process for CHIP. The adjustments are required for identified claims in which too much or too little FFP was received. There is no payment review or re-crediting requirement in PERM, although disallowance of FFP can be taken in states whose PERM error rate exceeds the national threshold of 3% based on a formula described at 42 CFR 431.1010. MEQC contains no such disallowance provision.

The MEQC program also contains one other significant element that is not found in PERM. Besides the requirement that states review at least 400 cases in their active case universe (including a minimum of 200 cases), MEQC requires states to review at least 400 negative case actions. At least 200 of these must be Medicaid and 200 must be CHIP. Negative case actions involve erroneous denials of Medicaid or CHIP eligibility or erroneous terminations from Medicaid or CHIP. This is an area with no PERM counterpart in which states will be developing case-level reporting and corrective actions. Negative case action reviews will not be triggered by PERM findings. Largely for this reason, the regulation requires that states pull their sample of these from the entire Medicaid and CHIP universe of cases. By sampling from the full range of Medicaid and CHIP cases, states should be able to obtain an overview of those sectors in their programs that may be especially vulnerable to improper denials or terminations.

FAQ ID:93196

What was the traditional Medicaid Eligibility Quality Control (MEQC) program based on and how has it changed?

The traditional MEQC program at 42 CFR § 431.810 through 431.822 was originally designed to implement sections 1902(a)(4) “Administration Methods for Proper and Efficient Operation of the State Plan” and 1903(u) “Limitation of FFP for Erroneous Medical Assistance Expenditures” of the Social Security Act (the Act). The program required annual state reviews of Medicaid cases identified through a statistically valid statewide sample of cases selected from the state’s eligibility files. The reviews were conducted to determine whether the sampled cases meet applicable Medicaid eligibility requirements. The program evolved over time to allow states the option of selecting specific areas of focus within the Medicaid program for their annual MEQC reviews.

On July 5, 2017, CMS published a final regulation entitled “Changes to the Payment Error Rate Measurement (PERM) and Medicaid Eligibility Quality Control (MEQC) Programs (CMS-Medicaid Coordination of Benefits8- F).” This final rule updated the MEQC and PERM programs based on the changes to Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program eligibility requirements under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The new regulation has restructured the MEQC program into an ongoing series of pilots that states are required to conduct during the two off-years between triennial PERM review years. The MEQC portions of the regulation are now covered by 42 CFR §§ 431.800-820.

FAQ ID:93416

What deliverables must states furnish to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) per the new Medicaid Eligibility Quality Control (MEQC) regulation?

The regulation requires states to submit a pilot planning document to CMS by November 1 of the year in which each state’s PERM review year ends. The pilot planning document must describe how states will conduct their active and negative case reviews and must be approved by CMS before the MEQC pilots can begin. In addition, the regulation requires states to submit case-level reports and corrective action plans to CMS by August 1 of the year after the MEQC review period ends. The specifications for the MEQC pilot planning documents are provided in the MEQC sub-regulatory guidance effective August 29, 2018. More details on the specifications of the case-level reports and corrective action plans are included in a second round of guidance, MEQC sub-regulatory guidance effective October 22, 2018.

FAQ ID:93421

Is there a simplified Payment Error Rate Measurement (PERM)/Medicaid Eligibility Quality Control (MEQC) timeline with milestone dates/cycles that can be provided to states (all cycles)?

The PERM/MEQC dates/cycles are as follows:

PERM Cycle* PERM Review Period MEQC Planning Document Due to CMS MEQC Review Period MEQC Case-Level Report on Findings and CAP Due to CMS
Cycle 1 July 1, 2017 – June 30, 2018 November 1, 2018 January 1 – December 1, 2019 August 1, 2020
Cycle 2 July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019 November 1, 2019 January 1 – December 1, 2020 August 1, 2021
Cycle 3 July 1, 2019 – June 30, 2020 November 1, 2020 January 1 – December 1, 2021 August 1, 2022

*??
CMS = Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
CAP = ??

FAQ ID:95156

Will there be any automatic updates coming through the Federal data services hub? Or will we always need to make a call to the Federal data services hub in order to get any information back? If a change is likely will the state need to send ongoing, frequent requests through the Federal data services hub?

Generally, information from the Federal data services hub will only be sent in direct response to a call from the requesting entity. However, in the case of verifications conducted by DHS, there can be up to three steps to a verification, the second and third of which will not be in real time. If the step 1 query fails, the Federal data services hub will automatically invoke step 2, and the response may take up to several days. If step 2 fails, the Federal data services hub will notify the requesting entity which will need to submit additional documentation from the applicant for step 3. The step 3 response can take weeks. During this time, the Federal data services hub will regularly poll DHS to see if the response has come back.

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FAQ ID:93316

What if I encounter an account that does not appear to fit into any of a state's eligibility coverage groups?

Applicants that indicate they have a disability, need long-term care or are over age 65 are always referred to the Medicaid agency for a determination on a non-MAGI basis, regardless of income and household composition, since the FFM is evaluating eligibility for MAGI-based eligibility groups only. Additionally, applicants may always request a full Medicaid determination at the end of the application process. In assessment states, the Medicaid agency will do a final determination of eligibility for these applicants, whereas in determination states, the Medicaid agency just needs to follow up for a non-MAGI determination. The expanded flat file will contain a specific indicator showing if the applicant requested a full determination.

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FAQ ID:92136

When will the Basic Health Program be operational?

Given the scope of the coverage changes that states and the federal government will be implementing on January 1, 2014, and the value of building on the experience that will be gained from those changes, HHS expects to issue proposed rules regarding the Basic Health Program for comment in 2013 and final guidance in 2014, so that the program will be operational beginning in 2015 for states interested in pursuing this option.

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FAQ ID:92141

What approaches are available to states that are interested in the Basic Health Program in the interim?

HHS is working with states that are interested in the concepts included in the Basic Health Program option to identify similar flexibilities to design coverage systems for 2014, such as continuity of coverage as individuals' income changes. Specifically, we have outlined options to states related to using Medicaid funds to purchase coverage through a Qualified Health Plan (QHP) on the Marketplace for Medicaid beneficiaries (PDF, 242.79 KB). Additionally, some states with current Medicaid adult coverage expansions are considering offering additional types of assistance with premiums to individuals who will be enrolled in QHPs through the Marketplace. HHS will review all such ideas.

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FAQ ID:92146

Do states need to track people enrolled in the adult group who become pregnant? If a woman indicates on the application she is pregnant, do states need to enroll her as a pregnant woman if she is otherwise eligible for the adult group? Would there be a need to track pregnancy if the benefits for both groups are the same?

If a woman indicates on an initial application that she is pregnant, she should be enrolled in Medicaid coverage as a pregnant woman, rather than in the new adult group. However, as stated in the preamble to the March 23, 2012 Medicaid and CHIP Eligibility & Enrollment final rule , states are not required to track the pregnancy status of women already enrolled through the new adult group. Women should be informed of the benefits afforded to pregnant women under the state's Medicaid program and if a woman becomes pregnant and requests a change in coverage category, the state must make the change if she is eligible.

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FAQ ID:92151

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