Federal Shutdown Will NOT Affect Medicare Payments

The federal Fiscal Year 2014 began on Tuesday, October 1st, at 12:01 AM with a partial government shutdown. The Congress and the President could not – and still have not – agreed upon an appropriations bill that fully funds the operation of the federal government. As a result, hundreds of thousands of federal employees have been furloughed, and multiple government buildings, national parks, and government services have been suspended.

While many services are interrupted by this shutdown, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has assured providers that processing of Medicare patient claims and provider payments will not be disrupted. The processing of Medicare claims is considered an “essential” government function and the funds for Medicare benefits are sourced from the entitlement program (versus a discretionary program that requires budget appropriation to continue).

Early Tuesday morning CMS sent out an e-mail blast confirming this small piece of good news: “During the time that the partial government shutdown is in effect, Medicare Administrative Contractors will continue to perform all functions related to Medicare fee-for-service claims processing and payment.”