The CareGuard Mobile App Is Now Available!

Medicare & Other Health Benefits: Your Guide to Who Pays First

Print-Friendly Version

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

This information from official government booklet tells you:

  • How Medicare works with other types of coverage
  • Who should pay your bills first
  • Where to get more help

How this guide can help you

The information in this booklet describes the Medicare program at the time this booklet was printed. Changes may occur after printing. Visit  Medicare.gov, or call

1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) to get the most current information. TTY users should call  1-877-486-2048.

“Medicare & Other Health Benefits: Your Guide to Who Pays First” isn’t a legal document. Official Medicare Program legal guidance is contained in the relevant statutes, regulations, and  rulings.

1. When you have other health coverage

 Coordination of benefits

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 you or your health care provider sends the rest to the “secondary payer” to pay . In some rare 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 on the next 3 pages . However, this chart doesn’t cover every situation . Be sure to tell your doctor and other providers if you have health 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 bill up to the limits of the payer’s coverage . It doesn’t mean the primary payer is always the first one in time to pay its share of the costs .

Where to go with questions

If you have questions about who pays first, or if your coverage changes, call the Benefits Coordination & Recovery Center (BCRC) toll-free at

1-855-798-2627  TTY users should call 1-855-797-2627

To better serve you, have your Medicare number ready when you call . You can find your Medicare number on your red, white, and blue Medicare card .

You also may be asked for additional information, like:

  • Your Social Security Number (SSN)
  • Address
  • Medicare effective date(s)
  • Whether you have Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) and/or Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) coverage

 How Medicare works with other coverage

Use the chart below to find your type(s) of coverage and situation to see which payer pays first .

How Medicare works with other coverage

I’m not yet 65 How will Medicare know I have other coverage?

About 3 months before you get Medicare, Medicare will send you a letter with a username and password for MyMedicare .gov . This is a free, secure online service where you can keep personalized information on your Medicare benefits and services .

Medicare doesn’t automatically know if you have other coverage . Fill out your “Initial Enrollment Questionnaire” (IEQ) at MyMedicare .gov to make sure your medical bills are paid correctly and on time. The IEQ asks if you have group health plan coverage through your work or a family member’s work . Medicare uses your answers to help set up your file and make sure your claims get paid correctly .

You can also complete your IEQ over the phone by calling the Benefits Coordination & Recovery Center (BCRC) toll-free at 1-855-798-2627 . TTY users should call 1-855-797-2627 .

Example: Harry is almost 65 and is getting ready to retire and enroll in Medicare . Harry’s wife Jane, 63, works for a large company with more than 20 people . Both Harry and Jane have health coverage through Jane’s employer’s group health plan .After he gets a letter from Medicare with his username and password for MyMedicare .gov, Harry goes to the website and fills out his IEQ . He reports he has coverage through his wife’s employment . After Harry becomes entitled to Medicare, his wife’s coverage will pay Harry’s claims first, and Medicare will pay Harry’s claims second.

What happens if my health coverage changes after I fill out the IEQ?

Call the Benefits Coordination & Recovery Center (BCRC) toll-free at

1-855-798-2627 . TTY users should call 1-855-797-2627 . You’ll have to give this information:

  • Your name
  • The name and address of your health plan
  • Your policy number
  • The date coverage was added, changed, or stopped, and why

Tell your doctor and other health care providers about changes in your coverage when you get care .

What if I have Medicare and more than one type of coverage?

Check your insurance policy—it may include the rules about who pays first . You can also call the BCRC .

Can I get coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace if I already have Medicare?

Generally, no . It’s against the law for someone who knows that you have Medicare to sell or issue you a Marketplace policy . This is true even if you have only Medicare Part A or only Part B . Therefore, if you already have Medicare, you shouldn’t need to coordinate benefits between Medicare and a Marketplace plan .

On the other hand, if you don’t yet have Medicare but have coverage through the Marketplace, you can choose to keep your Marketplace plan after your Medicare coverage starts . But, if you’ve been getting premium tax credits or other savings on a plan you bought through the Marketplace, these savings will end once your Part A coverage starts, so you’d have to pay full price for the Marketplace plan .

If you age into Medicare and decide to keep your Marketplace plan, then Medicare pays first .

Where can I get more information about who pays first?

Call your health insurance plan’s benefits administrator . You can also call the Benefits Coordination & Recovery Center (BCRC) toll-free at 1-855-798-2627 . TTY users should call 1-855-797-2627.

Medicare & other types of  health coverage

 Medicare & Medicaid

Medicaid (also called Medical Assistance) is a joint federal and state program that helps pay medical costs for certain people and families who have limited income and resources and meet other requirements . Medicaid never pays first for services covered by Medicare . It only pays after Medicare has paid . In rare cases where there’s other coverage, Medicaid pays after the other coverage has paid .

Medicare & group health plan coverage

You have a number of important decisions to make when you turn 65, like whether you should enroll in Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance), join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan, buy a Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) policy, and/or keep employer or retiree coverage .

By understanding your choices, you can avoid paying more than you need to, and get coverage that meets your needs .

Visit Medicare .gov/find-a-plan to compare Medicare health and drug  plans in your area . You can also call your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) . To get the phone number for your state, visit

shiptacenter .org, or call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) . TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048 .

Should I get group health plan coverage?

Many employers and unions offer group health plan coverage to current employees or retirees (if you have Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program coverage, your coverage works the same as it does for all group health plans) . You may also get group health plan coverage through the employer of a spouse or family member .

If you have Medicare and you’re offered coverage under a group health plan, you can choose to accept or reject the plan . The group health plan may be a fee-for-service plan or a managed care plan, like an HMO or PPO .

I have Medicare and group health plan coverage Who pays first?

If your employer has less than 20 employees, Medicare generally pays first . Generally, your group health plan pays first if both of these are true:

1 . You’re 65 or older and covered by a group health plan through your current employer or the current employer of a spouse of any age .

Note: “Spouse” includes both opposite-sex and same-sex marriages where either

  • You’re entitled to Medicare as a spouse based on Social Security’s rules; or
  • 2) the marriage was legally entered into in a U . S . jurisdiction that recognizes the marriage— including one of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, or a U .S . territory—or a foreign country, so long as that marriage would also be recognized by a U .S . jurisdiction .

2 . The employer has 20 or more employees and covers any of the same services as Medicare (this means the group health plan pays first on your hospital and medical bills) .

If the group health plan didn’t pay all of your bill, the doctor or health care provider should bill Medicare for secondary payment . Medicare will look at what your group health plan paid, and pay any additional costs up to the Medicare-approved amounts, as appropriate .

In some cases, you may pay whatever costs Medicare or the group health plan doesn’t cover .

My employer participates in a multi-employer plan or a multiple employer plan Who pays first?

Multi-employer and multiple employer group health plans are plans sponsored by or contributed to by 2 or more employers . If your employer joins with other employers or employee organizations (like unions) to sponsor or contribute to a multi-employer or  a multiple employer plan, and any of the other employers has 20 or more employees,

Medicare would generally pay second . However, your plan might ask for an exception, so even if your employer has less than 20 employees and participates in a multi- employer or multiple employer plan, you’ll need to find out from your employer whether Medicare pays first or second.

I’m in a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) Plan or an employer Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) Plan that pays first Who pays if I go outside the employer plan’s network?

If you go for care outside your employer plan’s network, you might not get any payment from your plan or Medicare . Call your plan before you go outside the network to find out if the service will be covered .

 If I don’t accept coverage from my employer, how will this affect what Medicare will pay?

Medicare pays its share for any Medicare-covered health care service you get, even if you don’t take group health plan coverage from your employer, and you don’t have coverage through an employed spouse .

What happens if I drop coverage from my employer?

Medicare pays first unless you have coverage through an employed spouse, and your spouse’s employer has at least 20 employees .

Note: If you don’t take employer coverage when it’s first offered to you, you might not get another chance to sign up . If you take the coverage but drop it later, you may not be able to get it back . Also, you might be denied coverage if your employer or your spouse’s employer generally offers retiree coverage but you weren’t in the plan while you or your spouse was still working . Call your employer’s benefits administrator for more information before you make a decision .

If I’m 65 or older and still working, what health benefits does my employer have to offer me?

Generally, employers with 20 or more employees must offer current employees 65 and older the same health benefits, under the same conditions, that they offer younger employees . If the employer offers coverage to spouses, it must offer the same coverage to spouses 65 and older that it offers to spouses under 65 .

Medicare & group health plan coverage after you retire

How does my group health plan coverage work after I retire?

It depends on the terms of your specific plan . Your employer or union or your spouse’s employer or union might not offer any health coverage after you retire . If you can get group health plan coverage after you retire, it might have different rules and might not work the same way with Medicare .

Can I continue my employer coverage after I retire?

Generally, when you have retiree coverage from an employer or union, they manage this coverage . Employers aren’t required to provide retiree coverage, and they can change benefits or premiums, or even cancel coverage .

What are the price and benefits of the retiree coverage, and does it include coverage for my spouse?

Your employer or union may offer retiree coverage that limits how much it will pay .

It might only provide “stop loss” coverage, which starts paying your out-of-pocket costs only when they reach a maximum amount .

 Medicare & group health plan coverage after you retire (continued)

What happens to my retiree coverage when I’m eligible for Medicare?

If your former employer offers retiree coverage, the coverage might not pay your medical costs during any period in which you were eligible for Medicare but didn’t sign up for it . When you become eligible for Medicare, you may need to join both Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B to get full benefits from your retiree coverage .

What effect will my continued coverage as a retiree have on both my health coverage and my spouse’s health coverage?

If you’re not sure how your retiree coverage works with Medicare, get a copy of your plan’s benefit materials, or look at the summary plan description provided by your employer or union . You can also call your employer’s benefits administrator and ask how the plan pays when you have Medicare . You may want to talk to your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) for advice about whether to buy a Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) policy . To get the phone number for your state, visit shiptacenter .org, or call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) . TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048 .

How does retiree coverage compare with a Medigap policy?

Since Medicare pays first after you retire, your retiree coverage is likely to be similar to coverage under a Medigap policy . Retiree coverage isn’t the same thing as a Medigap policy but, like a Medigap policy, it usually offers benefits that fill in some of Medicare’s gaps in coverage, like coinsurance and deductibles . Sometimes retiree coverage includes extra benefits, like coverage for extra days in the hospital .

If I choose to buy a Medigap policy, when should I buy it?

The best time is during your 6-month Medigap Open Enrollment period, because you can buy any Medigap policy sold in your state, even if you have health problems . This period automatically starts the month you’re 65 and enrolled in Part B, and once it’s over, you can’t get it again .

Remember: You and your spouse would each have to buy your own Medigap policy, and you can only buy a policy when you’re eligible for Medicare .

For more information about Medigap policies, visit Medicare .gov/publications to view the booklet “Choosing a Medigap Policy: A Guide to Health Insurance for People with Medicare.” To find and compare Medigap polices, visit

Medicare .gov/find-a-plan, or call 1-800-MEDICARE .

I’m retired and have Medicare I also have group health plan coverage from my former employer Who pays first?

Generally, Medicare pays first for your health care bills and your group health plan (retiree) coverage pays second .

I’m retired and have Medicare My spouse is still working and I have group health plan coverage through my spouse’s employer Who pays first?

If your spouse’s employer has 20 or more employees, your spouse’s coverage pays first and Medicare pays second . If your spouse’s employer has less than 20 employees, Medicare pays first .

What happens if I have group health plan coverage after I retire and my former employer goes bankrupt or out of business?

If your former employer goes bankrupt or out of business, federal COBRA rules may protect you if any other company within the same corporate organization still offers a group health plan to its employees . That plan is required to offer you COBRA continuation coverage . See pages 26–27 . If you can’t get COBRA continuation coverage, you may have the right to buy a Medigap policy even if you’re no longer in your Medigap Open Enrollment Period .

Medicare & group health plan coverage for people who are disabled (non-ESRD disability)

I’m under 65, disabled, and have Medicare and group health plan coverage based on current employment Who pays first?

It depends . Generally, if your employer has less than 100 employees, Medicare pays first if you’re under 65 or if you have Medicare because of a disability .

Sometimes employers with less than 100 employees join with other employers to form a multi-employer plan or a multiple employer plan . If at least one employer in the multi-employer plan or a multiple employer plan has 100 employees or more, Medicare pays second .

 If the employer has at least 100 employees, the health plan is called a large group health plan . If you’re covered by a large group health plan because of your current employment or the current employment of a family member (including, but not limited to a spouse, a domestic partner, son, daughter, or grandchild), Medicare pays second . A large group health plan can’t treat any plan member differently because they’re disabled and have Medicare .

Medicare & group health plan coverage for people with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD)

I have ESRD and group health plan coverage Who pays first?

If you’re eligible for Medicare because of ESRD, your group health plan will pay first on your hospital and medical bills for 30 months, whether or not you have Medicare . During this time, Medicare pays second.

The group health plan pays first during this period no matter how many employees work for your employer, or whether you or a family member are currently employed . At the end of the 30 months, Medicare pays first . This rule applies to most people with ESRD, whether you have your own group health plan coverage, or you’re covered as a family member .

Medicare & no-fault or liability insurance

What’s no-fault insurance?

No-fault insurance may pay for health care services you get because you get injured or your property gets damaged in an accident, regardless of who is at fault for causing the accident .

Some types of no-fault insurance include:

  • Automobile insurance
  • Homeowners’ insurance
  • Commercial insurance plans

What’s liability insurance?

Liability insurance protects against claims for negligence— for example, inappropriate action or inaction that causes someone to get injured or causes property damage .

Some types of liability insurance include:

  • Homeowners’
  • Automobile
  • Product
  • Malpractice
  • Uninsured motorist
  • Underinsured motorist

If you have an insurance claim for your medical expenses, you or your lawyer should notify Medicare as soon as possible .

Who pays first if I have a claim for no-fault or liability insurance?

No-fault insurance or liability insurance pays first and Medicare pays second, if appropriate .

If doctors or other providers are told you have a no-fault or liability insurance claim, they must try to get paid from the insurance company before billing Medicare .

However, this may take a long time . If the insurance company doesn’t pay the claim promptly (usually within 120 days), your doctor or other provider may bill Medicare . Medicare may make a conditional payment to pay the bill, and then later get back any payments the primary payer should have made .

What’s a conditional payment?

A conditional payment is a payment Medicare makes for services another payer may be responsible for . Medicare makes this conditional payment so you won’t have to use your own money to pay the bill . The payment is “conditional” because it must be repaid to Medicare when a settlement, judgment, award, or other payment is made .

Note: If Medicare makes a conditional payment for an item or service, and you get a settlement, judgment, award, or other payment for that item or service from an insurance company later, the conditional payment must be repaid to Medicare . You’re responsible for making sure Medicare gets repaid for the conditional payment .

How does Medicare get its money back for the conditional payment?

If Medicare makes a conditional payment, you or your representative should call the Benefits Coordination & Recovery Center (BCRC) toll-free at 1-855-798-2627 . TTY users should call 1-855-797-2627 . The BCRC will work on your case, using the information you or your representative gives it to see that Medicare gets repaid for the conditional payments .

The BCRC will gather information about any conditional payments Medicare made related to your pending settlement, judgment, award, or other payment . Once a settlement, judgment, award, or other payment is final, you or your representative should call the BCRC . The BCRC will determine the final repayment amount (if any) on your case and issue a letter requesting repayment .

Who pays if the no-fault or liability insurance denies my medical bill or is found not liable for payment?

Medicare would pay for covered services, unless you have group health plan coverage that must pay before Medicare . You’re responsible for your share of the bill, like coinsurance, copayment, or a deductible, and for services Medicare doesn’t cover .

Where can I get more information?

If you have questions about a no-fault or liability insurance claim, call the insurance company . If you have questions about who pays first, call the BCRC .

Medicare & workers’ compensation

What’s  workers’ compensation?

Workers’ compensation is a law or plan requiring employers to cover employees who get sick or injured on the job . Workers’ compensation plans cover most employees . If you don’t know whether you’re covered, ask your employer, or contact your state workers’ compensation division or department .

 I have Medicare and filed a workers’ compensation claim Who pays first?

If you have Medicare and get injured on the job, workers’ compensation pays first on health care items or services you got because of your work-related illness or injury .

There can be a delay between when a bill is filed for the work-related illness or injury and when the state workers’ compensation insurance decides if they should pay the bill . Medicare can’t pay for items or services that workers’ compensation will pay for promptly (generally 120 days) .

However, if the workers’ compensation insurance company denies payment for your medical bills pending a review of your claim (generally 120 days or longer), Medicare may make a conditional payment . This isn’t the same situation as when your workers’ compensation case has been settled and you’re using funds from your Workers’ Compensation Medicare Set-aside Arrangement (WCMSA) to pay for your medical care . See next page for more information on WCMSAs .

If you think you have a work-related illness or injury, tell your employer, and file a workers’ compensation claim

You or your lawyer also need to call the BCRC toll-free at 1-855-798-2627 as soon as you file your workers’ compensation claim . TTY users should call 1-855-797-2627 .

How does Medicare get its money back for the conditional payment?

If Medicare makes a conditional payment, and you or your lawyer haven’t reported your worker’s compensation claim to Medicare, call the Benefits Coordination & Recovery Center (BCRC) toll-free at 1-855-798-2627 . TTY users should call 1-855-797-2627 .

The BCRC will work on your case using the information you or your representative gives it, to see that Medicare gets repaid for the conditional payments .

The BCRC will gather information about any conditional payments Medicare made relating to your pending settlement, judgment, award, or other payment . Once a settlement, judgment, award, or other payment is final, you or your lawyer should call the BCRC . The BCRC will get the final repayment amount (if any) on your case and issue a letter requesting repayment .

You or your lawyer should contact the BCRC if you have a pending claim for workers’ compensation benefits and then contact the BCRC again if your claim is settled, abandoned or dismissed .

When and why would I need a Workers’ Compensation Medicare Set-aside Arrangement  (WCMSA)?

If you settle your worker’s compensation claim, the settlement may provide for funds to be set aside to pay for future medical and/or prescription drug expenses related to your injury, illness, or disease . When you have Medicare, you may wish to ask your workers’ compensation lawyer about the possibility of setting up a Workers’ Compensation Medicare Set-aside Arrangement (WCMSA) for depositing these funds .

The WCMSA helps ensure workers’ compensation funds are spent on these future expenses otherwise covered and reimbursable by Medicare . In other words, workers’ compensation pays before Medicare for these future expenses . If you have a WCMSA as part of your workers’ compensation settlement, you must be careful how you spend money specifically set aside for items and services related to your settlement and otherwise covered and reimbursable by Medicare .

If you or your lawyer wishes to request approval of a proposed WCMSA amount, send it to the BCRC at:

WCMSA Proposal/Final Settlement P .O . Box 138899

Oklahoma City, OK 73113-8899

How am I allowed to use the money in my Workers’ Compensation Medicare Set-aside Arrangement (WCMSA) if I manage (self-administer) the account?

Keep these in mind if you manage your WCMSA account:

1)Money placed in your WCMSA is for paying future medical expenses, including prescription drug expenses related to your work injury or illness/disease that otherwise would’ve been paid by Medicare . You should also use WCMSA funds to pay for these medical services and items, as well as prescription drug expenses, if you’re enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan (like an HMO or PPO) .

2)You can’t use the WCMSA to pay for any other work injury, or any medical items or services that Medicare doesn’t cover (like dental services) .

3)Medicare won’t pay for any medical expenses related to the injury until after you’ve used all of your set-aside money appropriately .

4)If you aren’t sure what type of services Medicare covers, visit Medicare .gov or call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) for more information, before you use any of the money that was placed in your WCMSA account . TTY users should call

1-877-486-2048  .

5)Keep records of your workers’ compensation-related medical expenses, including prescription drug expenses . These records show what items and services you got and how much money you spent on your work-related injury, illness, or disease . You need these records to prove you used your WCMSA money to pay your workers’ compensation-related medical expenses, including prescription drug expenses .

6)After you use all of your WCMSA money appropriately, Medicare can start paying for Medicare-covered services related to your work-related injury, illness, or disease.

What if workers’ compensation denies payment?

If workers’ compensation insurance denies payment, and you give Medicare proof that the claim was denied, Medicare will pay for Medicare-covered items and services as appropriate.

Can workers’ compensation decide not to pay my entire bill?

In some cases, workers’ compensation insurance may not pay your entire bill .

If you had an injury or illness before you started your job (called a “pre-existing condition”), and the job made it worse, workers’ compensation may not pay your whole bill because the job didn’t cause the original problem . In this case, workers’ compensation insurance may agree to pay only a part of your doctor or hospital bills . You and workers’ compensation insurance may agree to share the cost of your bill . If Medicare covers the treatment for your pre-existing condition, then Medicare may pay its share for part of the doctor or hospital bills that workers’ compensation doesn’t cover .

Medicare & Veterans’ benefits

I have Medicare and Veterans’ benefits Who pays first?

If you have or can get both Medicare and Veterans’ benefits, you can get treatment under either program . When you get health care, you must choose which benefits to use each time you see a doctor or get health care . Medicare can’t pay for the same service that was covered by Veterans’ benefits, and your Veterans’ benefits can’t

pay for the same service that was covered by Medicare . Also, Medicare is never the secondary payer after the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) . Note: To get the VA to pay for services, you must go to a VA facility or have the VA authorize services in a non-VA facility .

Are there any situations when both Medicare and the VA may pay?

Yes . If the VA authorizes services in a non-VA hospital, but didn’t authorize all of the services you get during your hospital stay, then Medicare may pay for the Medicare- covered services the VA didn’t authorize .

I have a VA fee-basis identification (ID) card Who pays first?

The VA may give “fee-basis ID cards” to certain Veterans if:

  • You have a service-connected disability .
  • You’ll need medical services for an extended time period .
  • There are no VA hospitals in your area .

If you have a fee-basis ID card, you may choose any doctor listed on your card to treat you .

If the doctor accepts you as a patient and bills the VA for services, the doctor must accept the VA’s payment as payment in full . The doctor can’t bill you or Medicare for these services .

If your doctor doesn’t accept the fee-basis ID card, you’ll need to file a claim with the VA yourself . The VA will pay the approved amount either to you or to your doctor .

Where can I get more information on Veterans’ benefits?

Visit VA .gov, call your local VA office, or call the national VA information number at 1-800-827-1000 . TTY users should call 1-800-829-4833 .

Medicare & TRICARE

What’s TRICARE?

TRICARE is a health care program for active-duty and retired uniformed services members and their families that includes:

  • TRICARE Prime .
  • TRICARE Extra .
  • TRICARE Standard .
  • TRICARE for Life (TFL) . TFL provides expanded medical coverage to Medicare-eligible uniformed services retirees 65 or older, to their eligible family

members and survivors, and to certain former spouses . You must have Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) to get TFL benefits .

 Can I have both Medicare and TRICARE?

Some people can have both Medicare and other types of TRICARE, including:

  • Dependents of active-duty service members who are allowed Medicare for any reason .
  • People under 65 with Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) because of a disability or End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) and with Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) .
  • People 65 or older who can get Part A and who join Part B .

I have Medicare and TRICARE Who pays first?

In general, Medicare pays first for Medicare-covered services . TRICARE will pay the Medicare deductible and coinsurance amounts and for any service not covered by Medicare that TRICARE covers . You pay the costs of services Medicare or TRICARE doesn’t cover .

Who pays if I get services from a military hospital?

If you get services from a military hospital or any other federal health care provider, TRICARE will pay the bills . Medicare usually doesn’t pay for services you get from a federal health care provider or other federal agency .

Where can I get more information?

  • Visit Tricare .mil/tfl .
  • Call the health benefits advisor at a military hospital or clinic .
  • Call TRICARE For Life at 1-866-773-0404 .

 Medicare & the Federal Black Lung Benefits Program

I have Medicare and coverage under the Federal Black Lung Benefits Program Who pays first?

The Federal Black Lung Benefits Program pays first for any health care for black lung disease covered under that program . Medicare won’t pay for doctor or hospital services covered under the Federal Black Lung Benefits Program . Your doctor or other health care provider should send all bills for the diagnosis or treatment of black lung disease to:

Federal Black Lung Program P .O . Box 8302

London, Kentucky 40742-8302

For all other health care not related to black lung disease, Medicare pays first, and your doctor or health care provider should send your bills directly to Medicare .

What if the Federal Black Lung Benefits Program won’t pay my bill?

Ask your doctor or other health care provider to send Medicare the bill . Ask them to include a copy of the letter from the Federal Black Lung Benefits Program that says why it won’t pay your bill .

Where can I get more information?

Call 1-800-638-7072 if you have questions about the Federal Black Lung Benefits Program . If you have questions about who pays first, call the Benefits Coordination & Recovery Center (BCRC) toll-free at 1-855-798-2627 . TTY users should call

1-855-797-2627  .

Medicare & COBRA

What’s COBRA?

COBRA is a federal law that may allow you to temporarily keep employer or union health coverage after the employment ends or after you lose coverage as a dependent of the covered employee . This is called “continuation coverage.”

In general, COBRA only applies to employers with 20 or more employees . However, some state laws require insurance companies covering employers with fewer than 20 employees to let you keep your coverage for a period of time .

In most situations that give you COBRA rights (other than a divorce), you should get a notice from your employer’s benefits administrator or the group health plan telling you your coverage is ending and offering you the right to elect COBRA continuation coverage .

This coverage generally is offered for 18 months (or 36 months, in some cases) .

If you don’t get a notice, but you find out your coverage has ended, or if you get divorced, call the employer’s benefits administrator or the group health plan as soon as possible and ask about your COBRA rights .

If you qualify for COBRA because the covered employee either died, lost his/her job, or can now get Medicare, then the employer must tell the plan administrator . Once the plan administer is notified, the plan must let you know you have the right to choose COBRA coverage .

However, if you qualify for COBRA because you’ve become divorced or legally separated (court issued separation decree) from the covered employee, or if you were a dependent child or dependent adult child who’s no longer a dependent, then you or the covered employee needs to let the plan administrator know about your change in situation within 60 days of the change happening .

I have Medicare and COBRA continuation coverage Who pays first?

If you have Medicare because you’re 65 or over or because you have a disability other than End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD), Medicare pays first .

If you have Medicare based on ESRD, COBRA continuation coverage pays first . Medicare pays second to the extent COBRA coverage overlaps the first 30 months of Medicare eligibility or entitlement based on ESRD .

Whether and when you should elect COBRA coverage can be a very complicated decision . When you lose employer coverage and you have Medicare, you need to be aware of your COBRA election period, your Part B enrollment period, and your Medigap Open Enrollment Period . These may all have different deadlines that overlap, so be aware that what you decide about one type of coverage (COBRA, Part B, and Medigap) might cause you to lose rights under one of the other types of coverage .

Where can I get more information about COBRA?

  • Before you elect COBRA coverage, you can talk with your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) about Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) and Medicare Supplementary (Medigap) Insurance . To get the phone number for your state, visit shiptacenter .org, or call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) . TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048 .
  • Call your employer’s benefits administrator for questions about your specific COBRA options .
  • If you have questions about Medicare and COBRA, call the Benefits Coordination & Recovery Center (BCRC) toll-free at 1-855-798-2627 . TTY users should call 1-855-797-2627 .
  • If your group health plan coverage was from a private employer (not a government employer), visit the Department of Labor at dol .gov, or call 1-866-444-3272 .
  • If your group health plan coverage was from a state or local government employer, call the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) at 1-877-267-2323, extension 61565 .
  • If your coverage was with the federal government, visit the Office of Personnel Management at opm .gov .

 Definitions

Claim—A request for payment that you submit to Medicare or other health insurance when you receive items and services that you think are covered .

Coinsurance—An amount you may be required to pay as your share of the cost for services, after you pay any deductibles .

Coinsurance is usually a percentage (for example, 20%) .

Copayment—An amount you may be required to pay as your share of the cost for a medical service or supply, like a doctor’s visit, hospital outpatient visit, or a prescription drug .

A copayment is usually a set amount, rather than a percentage . For example, you might pay $10 or $20 for a doctor’s visit or prescription .

Deductible—The amount you must pay for health care or prescriptions, before Original Medicare, your prescription drug plan, or your other insurance begins to pay .

End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD)—Permanent kidney failure that requires a regular course of dialysis or a kidney transplant .

Group health plan—In general, a health plan offered by an employer or employee organization that provides health coverage to employees, and their families .

Health care provider —A person or organization that’s licensed to give health care . Doctors, nurses, and hospitals are examples of health care providers.

Large group health plan—In general, a group health plan that covers employees of either an employer or employee organization that has at least 100 employees.

Medicaid—A joint federal and state program that helps with medical costs for some people with limited income and resources . Medicaid programs vary from state to state, but most health care costs are covered if you qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid .

Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance)— Coverage for inpatient hospital stays, care in a skilled nursing facility, hospice care, and some home health care.

Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance)—Coverage for certain doctors’ services, outpatient care, medical supplies, and preventive services.

Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C)—A type of Medicare health plan offered by a privatecompany that contracts with Medicare to provide you with all your Medicare Part A and Part B benefits . Medicare Advantage Plans include Health Maintenance Organizations, Preferred Provider Organizations, Private Fee-for-Service Plans, Special Needs Plans, and Medicare Medical Savings Account Plans . If you’re enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan, Medicare services are covered through the plan and aren’t paid for under Original Medicare . Most Medicare Advantage Plans offer prescription drug coverage.

Medigap policy—Medicare Supplement Insurance sold by private insurance companies to fill “gaps” in Original Medicare coverage.

Multi-employer plan—In general, a group health plan that’s sponsored jointly by 2 or more employers.

Premium—The periodic payment to Medicare, an insurance company, or a health care plan for health or prescription drug coverage.

State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP)—A state program that gets money from the federal government to give free local health insurance counseling to people with Medicare .

TTY—A TTY (teletypewriter) is a communication device used by people who are deaf, hard-of- hearing, or have a severe speech impairment. People who don’t have a TTY can communicate with a TTY user through a message relay center (MRC) .

An MRC has TTY operators available to send and interpret TTY messages .

Workers’ compensation—A plan that employers are required to have to cover employees who get sick or injured on the job .

Source: The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

Translate »