On Dec. 7, 2016, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Office of Inspector General (OIG) released an update to its 2000 policy regarding gifts of nominal value given to a Medicare or Medicaid beneficiary. The update increases the nominal value of gifts given to a Medicare or Medicaid beneficiary to $15 per occurrence and $75 in the aggregate for a year (the previous limit was $10 per occurrence and $50 in the aggregate). If a gift complies with these limits, the arrangement does not need to fit within a “safe harbor” to 42 U.S.C. §1320a-7b(b) (the federal anti-kickback statute).

Importantly, to assess the value of a gift, a provider should look at the retail value of a gift, not the cost of acquisition to a provider. Also, gifts to a Medicare or Medicaid beneficiary cannot be cash or a cash equivalent. Other than the change in value, all other OIG guidance regarding gifts of nominal value to a Medicare or Medicaid beneficiaries should continue to apply.

The update is available here.