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Voluntary Data Sharing Agreement

A Voluntary Data Sharing Agreement (VDSA) is used to more efficiently coordinate health care benefit payments between employers, their agents and Medicare, in accordance with Medicare Secondary Payer (MSP) laws and regulations and the Medicare Modernization Act.

A VDSA authorizes CMS and an employer, or agent on behalf of an employer, to electronically exchange health insurance benefit entitlement information. On a quarterly basis, a VDSA partner agrees to submit group health plan (GHP) entitlement information about employees and dependents to CMS's Benefits Coordination & Recovery Center (BCRC). In exchange, CMS agrees to provide the VDSA partner with Medicare entitlement information for those individuals in a GHP that can be identified as Medicare beneficiaries. This mutual data exchange helps to assure that claims will be paid by the appropriate organization at first billing.

The VDSA program has been expanded to include Part D information enabling VDSA partners to submit records with prescription drug coverage, be it primary or secondary to Part D. CMS is also allowing employers, and other entities with a VDSA or Data Sharing Agreement (DSA) who are also participating in the Retiree Drug Subsidy (RDS) program, to use the VDSA/DSA process to submit subsidy enrollment files to the RDS Contractor.

Please see the Downloads section near the bottom of this page to view the Employer Voluntary Data Sharing Agreement, the Employer Voluntary Data Sharing Agreement Questionnaire, and the Voluntary Data Sharing Agreement User Guide.

Benefits of a VDSA

In addition to those benefits described above, a VDSA provides these immediate benefits:

  • Reduction of Administrative Costs

Most employers manually compile their Data Match questionnaires for mailing. With a VDSA, an insurer can electronically exchange entitlement information with Medicare for its employer clients.

  • Elimination of Repayment Claims and Associated Penalties

VDSA data exchange can streamline benefit administration and eliminate the need for almost all repayment negotiations and potential late or non-payment penalties.

  • Access to Medicare Entitlement Data

VDSA allows an employer to electronically query CMS for Medicare entitlement information about any covered individuals or dependents that have GHP benefits. When a partner has an immediate need to access Medicare entitlement information, an online, real-time query capability will be provided via secure web site.

For more information on the VDSA program, please contact the BCRC. Contact information can be accessed from the Contacts link in the Related Links section below.

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