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|Medicare Q & A from the federal Medicare Agency - The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services|
|News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition|
|Written by Julie Brookhart|
|Wednesday, 23 May 2012 10:31|
MAKING MEDICARE MAKE SENSE
Answers To Some of The Most Commonly Asked Medicare Questions
Q: Who Pays First If I Have Medicare and Other Health Coverage?
A: If you have Medicare and other health coverage, each type of coverage is called a “payer.” When there’s more than one payer, “coordination of benefits” rules decide who pays first. The “primary payer” pays what it owes on your bills first, and then your provider sends the rest to the “secondary payer” to pay. In some cases, there may also be a “third payer.” Whether Medicare pays first depends on a number of things, including the situations listed in the chart below. However, this chart doesn’t cover every situation. Be sure to tell your doctor and other health care provider’s insurance specialist/billing staff if you have coverage in addition to Medicare. This will help them send your bills to the correct payer to avoid delays. Note: Paying “first” means paying the whole bill up to the limits of the payer’s coverage. It doesn’t always mean the primary payer pays first in time.
If you have questions about who pays first or if your coverage changes, call the Medicare Coordination of Benefits Contractor (COBC) at 1-800-999-1118. TTY users should call 1-800-318-8782. For example, if you need to find out about Medicare’s coverage of End Stage Renal Disease and how it works with other insurance the COBC will answer your questions. Also, to better serve you please have the following information ready when you call: your Medicare number (located on your red, white, and blue Medicare card) and one additional piece of information, such as your Social Security Number (SSN), address, Medicare effective date(s), or whether you have Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) and/or Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) coverage.
Below is a summary chart of who likely pays first. If you would like a copy of the Medicare booklet referenced in the chart, titled, “Medicare and Other Health Benefits: Your Guide to Who Pays First,” call 1-800-633-4227, (which is 1-800-Medicare), and ask for CMS Product Number 02179, and tell them the title of the booklet.
Please note: In some cases, if you are entitled to, but don’t have, the first payer coverage, the second payer won’t cover you. This can be vital information to know in some employer retiree plans and COBRA cases. For instance, if you are 65 and older, and retired, and you do not enroll in Medicare, it is possible that your retiree coverage won’t cover you. Check with your retiree plan to be sure.
*If your employer participates in a plan that is sponsored by two or more employers, the rules are slightly different.
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