When Medicare is a Primary Insurance for the patient, the patient's part responsibility (coinsurance/deductible) normally crosses over to its secondary insurance for secondary coverage (if Medicare has the secondary insurance on file or if its set up to cross over based on the patient's coordination of benefits).
As you will notice on your Remittance advise, "Claim Information forwarded to: (insurance company here) Meaning, Medicare will forward the information to the secondary insurance. If not, try to find out if there is a secondary insurance for the patient, then you need to send the paper claim (using the HCFA 1500 form for Office/Provider/Professional Claims) to the secondary and attach a copy of the Medicare EOB (explanation of benefits). If your Practice Software can bill secondary to Medicare electronically, then that's great! Send them by electronic.
If your practice management software is capable of doing this by electronic submission with attached copy of the EOB - much better!After you submit the claim to the secondary insurance, the secondary insurance EOB will then tell you if there is a copay being applied towards the patient being a secondary insurance after Medicare.You will then obviously collect that copay based on your contract with the secondary insurance company (and this is also based on the patient's contract with his/her secondary insurance). Medicare patients are mostly aware of their responsibility after the secondary insurance picks up.
Bottom line here:
(1) Medicare must process (not deny or reject!) the claim first being the primary;
(2) Secondary insurance must then process the claim with Medicare's claim information;
(3) Then, if there is a copay being applied towards the patient's responsibility -- you have to bill your patient for that copay!But honestly, I do not collect secondary insurance copay not until the secondary insurance had processed the claim (after Medicare's allowance!).
WHY? because it is possible that the patient may no longer have an active policy (at the time of service) with the secondary insurance, or maybe, there is no more copay because the patient had met his/her out of pocket limit. So to streamline this issue (of which not all offices are doing it) - you must always check benefits and eligibility for your patient's primary, secondary or even tertiary insurance coverage!It may be a lot of work too, but what I do is that, when I am billing the patient a copay (from the secondary insurance's determination and per the EOB) or even for their coinsurance!
I do my best to attach a copy of the EOB on the statement. That way, the patient has a copy of the said EOB and he/she will understand why I am billing him/her.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Ms. Pinky Maniri-Pescasio is the Founder of GoHealthcare Consulting. She is a National Speaker on Practice Reimbursement and a Physician Advocate. She has served the Medical Practice Industry for more than 25 years as a Professional Medical Practice Consultant.