With all the nail-biting that ushered in the New Year as Democrats and Republicans wrestled with the so-called “fiscal cliff,” little did many notice that one provision in the bill gives Medicare contractors five years, not three, in which to collect on overpayments.

Specifically, the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, which was hotly contested in Congress last week, expands the time limit on recovering overpayments to five years after the year in which payment was made.

“This five-year lookback only applies to Medicare providers without fault,” healthcare attorney Andrew Wachler explained. “It does not, on its own, change the rules for RACs, although they can easily decide to follow this rule.”

RACmonitor will have a complete analysis of the rule’s anticipated impact in Thursday’s edition of RACMonitorEnews.

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