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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

How will a state determine a child's household composition when the child leaves the home of his/her parent(s) to live with a caretaker relative, but is still expected to be claimed as a tax dependent by one or both parents.

CMS regulations at 42 CFR 435.603(f)(2) provide that the parents would be included in the child's household in this situation. However, if the parents do not intend to continue to claim the child as a tax dependent for the following tax year, states may alternatively use the option provided at 435.603(h)(3) to consider the child's move to the live with another caretaker relative as a "reasonably predictable change in income" and apply the non-filer rules to the child at 435.603(f)(3). Under the non-filer rules, neither the parents nor the caretaker with whom the child is living would be included in the child's household for purposes of Medicaid and CHIP eligibility.

Note that to be claimed as a "qualifying child," children generally must live with their parents for at least half of the year (certain exceptions apply), but parents may also be able to continue to claim a child as a "qualifying relative." States are not expected to determine whether or not a parent is permitted to claim their child as a tax dependent or not, but states may wish to consult IRS Publication 501 to better understand the general requirements which must be met for a tax filer to claim another individual either as a "qualifying child" or "qualifying relative." IRS Publication 501 can be accessed at the following link: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p501.pdf.

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FAQ ID:92571

Is there a difference between the definition of Indian/Native American for Medicaid and the Exchange. Can you clarify what the difference is?

For purposes of eligibility for coverage through the Marketplace, the Affordable Care Act defines Indians as individuals who are members of a federally recognized Indian Tribe. The definition of Indian currently in use for Medicaid beneficiaries follows a broader definition that includes descendants of Indians and all American Indians and Alaska Natives. As a result, American Indians and Alaska Natives who are not members of an Indian tribe would not be eligible for exemptions available through an Exchange, including from individual responsibility payments, qualification for special monthly enrollment periods and cost-sharing reductions.

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FAQ ID:92576

What are some examples of income that is not considered taxable, and therefore excluded from MAGI?

Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), Veterans' disability, Workers' Compensation, child support, federal tax credits, and cash assistance are common types of income that are not taxable. Please see Question 5 below for additional details on veterans' benefits.

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FAQ ID:92581

Will Veterans Administration (VA) benefits be counted as taxable income effective January 1, 2014?

The IRS has provided guidance on how VA benefits should be considered when calculating income. As noted in IRS Publication 17, states should not count any veterans benefits paid under any law, regulation or administrative practice administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs in their income calculations. CMS agrees that VA benefits are not part of the Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI) calculation.

Following are some examples of payments issued to veterans' or their families that are not taxable:

  • Education, training and subsistence allowances
  • Disability compensation and pensions payments for disabilities paid either to veterans or their families
  • Grants for homes designed for wheelchair living
  • Grants for motor vehicles for veterans who lost their sight or the use of their limbs
  • Veterans' insurance proceeds and dividend paid either to veterans or their beneficiaries, including the proceeds of a veteran's endowment policy paid before death
  • Interest on insurance dividends left on deposit with the VA
  • Benefits under a dependent care assistance program
  • The death gratuity paid to a survivor of a member of the Armed Forces who died after September 10, 2001
  • Payments made under the compensated work therapy program
  • Any bonus payment by a state or political subdivision because of service in a combat zone

Additional information on how the IRS views veteran's income can be found at http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p17.pdf.

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FAQ ID:92586

How should states handle eligibility renewals between January 1, 2014 and March 31, 2014 in order to comply with the ACA provisions that prohibit states from terminating an individual's existing Medicaid eligibility prior to April 1, 2014.

According to section 1902(e)(14)(D)(v) of the Act, implemented at 42 CFR 435.603(a)(3), a person enrolled in Medicaid on or before December 31, 2013, shall not be found ineligible solely because of the application of MAGI and new household composition rules before March 31, 2014, or the individual's next regular renewal date, whichever is later.

States have two options regarding implementation. They can apply both pre-MAGI rules and MAGI rules to anyone whose renewal date falls between January 1 and March 31, 2014 as described below. Alternately, states may request the waiver authority to delay renewals outlined in our May 17, 2013 guidance titled, "Facilitating Medicaid and CHIP Enrollment and Renewal in 2014" (available at http://medicaid.gov/sites/default/files/Federal-Policy-Guidance/downloads/SHO-13-003.pdf).

The steps described below will ensure that Medicaid enrollees who come up for renewal between January and March 2014 are addressed appropriately. For example, for an individual who comes up for renewal on February 1, 2014, states need to:

  1. Conduct an eligibility redetermination by applying MAGI-based methods (at the converted income standard). If eligible, renew coverage for a 12-month period ending in February 2015.
  2. If the individual is found to be ineligible under step 1, determine whether s/he remains eligible based on 2013 (current) methods and income standard. If so, a finding of eligibility until April 1, 2014 is necessary under the 2013 methods. Go to step 4.
  3. If the individual is not eligible per either step 1 or 2, consider whether the individual might be eligible on other bases of eligibility, and pursue any possibilities. If no other pathways apply, provide the individual with notice of termination and appeal rights and transfer their account to the Exchange (or CHIP) for eligibility determination and enrollment in a QHP (or CHIP).
  4. On April 1, 2014, for those who remain eligible per step 2 (using 2013 methods and income standards), consider whether the individual qualifies on other bases of eligibility. If the individual does, renew eligibility until April 1, 2015. If not, provide notice and appeal rights for termination effective April 1, 2014.

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FAQ ID:92596

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