How MCOs Intensify Accounting IBNRs

Understanding the Uncertainty of Loss

By Staff ReportersHOFMS

 

Because of the high degree of uncertainty inherent in the estimates of ultimate losses underlying the liability for unpaid claims, the IRS will not allow a Managed Care Organization to deduct an IBNR because the financial statements are based on an estimate (IRS, 134-155).

Loss Based Deductions

Unless the taxpayer healthcare entity qualifies for the insurance company exclusion, the IRS does not allow any taxpayer entity to deduct losses based on estimates. However, the precedent has been set that the IRS will accept an amount for IBNR claims if the amount is supported by actuarial projections and/or valid receipts of claims that the company has in-house prior to the filing of the tax return.

Time Line Controversy

There has been some controversy as to how long a reporting time period the IRS will allow to include those estimates. The time period ranges from three to six months to file a claim (IRS, 137). The process by which these reserves are established requires reliance upon estimates based on known facts and on interpretations of circumstances, including the business’s experience with similar cases and historical trends involving claim payment patterns, claim payments, pending levels of unpaid claims, and product mix, as well as other factors such as court decisions, economic conditions, and public attitudes.

Assessment

There has been no clear indication from the IRS that it will accept an accrual for these losses and entities. Therefore, healthcare organizations deducting such losses may eventually find themselves in a position where the IRS may challenge the relating deductibility of those losses.

Conclusion

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