HHS Slightly Increases Interest Rate on Overpayment Debts/Underpayments Owed Providers

The Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS” or the “Department”) has marginally raised the interest rate on overpayment debts owed to the Department. HHS published notice of the newly certified interest rate for the quarter ended December 31, 2012 in the Federal Register on March 5, 2013. The new rate, 105/8%, represents a ¼% increase from the previous quarter, ending September 30, 2012. 45 C.F.R. §30.18 directs HHS to charge a rate of interest as determined and fixed by the Secretary of the Treasury, but allows for variation by statute, contract, or repayment agreement. The rate applied by HHS tends to trail the Treasury rate from the previous quarter. Notably, 42 C.F.R. § 405.378, which governs interest charges also imposes the same interest rate on underpayments owed to providers. CMS Transmittal 217 (Change Request 8201) to Publication 100-06, published January 11, 2013) applies the same 105/8% rate to underpayments as well as overpayments, effective January 17, 2013.

Questions related to interest issues or on RAC or other government healthcare audit programs generally can be directed to Abby Pendleton, Esq., or Jessica Gustafson, Esq. at (248) 996-8510.

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