Congress recently approved a Bill (S. 2499) that empowers federal regulators at the Department of Health and Human Services to ensure that employer health plans pay the medical bills of older employees even after these employees become eligible for Medicare. Under the Bill, employer health plans must submit coverage information to federal regulators so that they can make a determination who is the primary payer for Medicare eligible employees.

The impetus for the Bill was a discovery by government auditors that Medicare incorrectly paid "hundreds of millions of dollars" where employer health plans should have been the primary payer. Hence, the purpose of the Bill is to ensure that Medicare is not picking up the tab when the employer health plan should be the primary payer. The Bill was signed into law on December 29, 2007, and will go into effect on January 1, 2009.

To view the relevant text of the Bill, click here and refer to Section 111.