What should you do with an overpayment? – Ophthalmology Management

An overpayment is money you should not have received, usually from a third-party payer, based on a claim you submitted. It may be all or part of the payment you received. It may be the result of an inadvertent mistake or caused by intentional misrepresentation. It may be an isolated occurrence or a recurring problem. Whatever the case, not only can you not keep it — you have to work to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

This article answers the following questions:

  • What is an overpayment?
  • Are there time limits for refunding overpayments?
  • How should refunds be made?
  • When is an overpayment treated as fraud?
  • Do we require an attorney to make a refund of an overpayment?
  • Does refunding an overpayment lead to an audit?
  • Is refunding an overpayment sufficient to address the problem?

This article was published in Ophthalmology Management’s Coding & Reimbursement column, which is written by Corcoran’s Executive Vice-President, Suzanne Corcoran, COE. To view the entire article in Ophthalmology Management, click on the link below:

http://www.ophthalmologymanagement.com/articleviewer.aspx?articleID=108875

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Coping with an Overpayment

An overpayment is money you should not have received, usually from a third party payer, based on a claim for reimbursement. Overpay-ments also affect beneficiaries due to the impact of co-payments and deductibles. It may be all or part of the payment you received. It may be the result of an inadvertent mistake or caused by intentional misrepresentation. It may be an isolated occurrence or a recurring problem. Overpayments are clearly wrong, not disputed amounts due to differences of opinion.

Overpayments may result from a variety of causes. The principal reasons include: 1) poor chart documentation that does not support the medical necessity for services, 2) upcoding eye exams, and 3) unbundling of services that are described by one inclusive CPT code.

This FAQ addresses the following:

  1. What is an overpayment?
  2. What is the provider’s obligation when an overpayment is found?
  3. Where should refunds be sent?
  4. How should related co-payments and deductibles be handled?
  5. When is an overpayment treated as fraud?
  6. Do we require an attorney to make a refund of an overpayment?
  7. If we find a larger problem, how do we communicate that to Medicare?
  8. Should overpayments be reported to the Office of Inspector General?
  9. Does refunding an overpayment lead to an audit?
  10. How can we prevent overpayments?

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