Learn how Medicare Benefits apply in case of Worker Compensation, Veterans Administration (VA) and Automobile Accident.
Medicare Secondary Payer (MSP) is the term generally used when the Medicare program does not have primary payment responsibility - that is, when another entity has the responsibility for paying before Medicare.
When Medicare began in 1966, it was the primary payer for all claims except for those covered by Workers' Compensation, Federal Black Lung benefits, and Veteran’s Administration (VA) benefits.
In 1980, Congress passed legislation that made Medicare the secondary payer to certain primary plans in an effort to shift costs from Medicare to the appropriate private sources of payment. Primary payers are those that have the primary responsibility for paying a claim.
Medicare remains the primary payer for beneficiaries who are not covered by other types of health insurance or coverage. Medicare is also the primary payer in certain instances, provided several conditions are met.
Medicare Worker Compensation, Veterans Administration, Automobile Accident
Following are some common situations to help your Medical Billing and Coding needs, when Medicare and other health insurance or coverage may be present, and which entity will be the primary or secondary payer when patient has Worker Compensation, Veterans Administration and Automobile Accident:
Medicare Worker's Compensation
Medicare is secondary to Worker's Compensation benefits if the patient is being treated for a work related illness or injury. If the claim is contested, pending the Worker's Compensation Board decision, the physician/supplier may bill Medicare first. A statement should be included on the claim form indicating that the worker's compensation claim is being contested.
Claims for beneficiaries who may have worker's compensation insurance will suspend for manual review to determine whether the services are related to a work illness or injury. If the services are obviously not related to a work illness or injury, the claim will be released for final processing.
Physicians/suppliers should complete item 10a of the CMS 1500 claim form if the services are not provided for diagnosis and treatment of a work related illness or injury.
Medicare Veterans Administration
Veterans entitled to Medicare may choose one of the programs to be responsible for payment of services covered by both programs. If the veteran elects Medicare coverage, it is not necessary to submit a claim to the Veterans Administration (VA) for a denial before submitting the claim to Medicare. Claims submitted to Medicare will be processed without development, assuming that Medicare coverage and eligibility requirements are met.
Claims cannot be submitted to both programs for the same dates and types of treatment. If a veteran elects Medicare coverage, a claim should not be submitted to the VA for the Medicare deductible or co-insurance.
Veterans (VA) Claim Submission
When hospital care was authorized by the VA in advance, or within 72 hours of admission. When outpatient medical services were authorized by the VA in advance. (NOTE: a VA Fee Basis ID card is not considered by Medicare to be an authorization, and the veteran retains his or her right to elect VA or Medicare coverage.)
When care was not authorized by the VA in advance, the veteran is eligible for payment for care as an unauthorized service, and the veteran chooses to submit a claim to the VA for unauthorized services rather than utilizing Medicare benefits.
Medicare Claim Submission
When a veteran is eligible for Medicare benefits and hospital care was not authorized by the VA in advance, or within 72 hours of admission. (For services billable on Form 1450, the Medicare provider should enter condition code 26 in field locator 35-39)
When a veteran is eligible for Medicare benefits, has a VA Fee Basis ID card and elects Medicare coverage over VA.
When a veteran is eligible for Medicare benefits and has no prior authorization from the VA for care—unless the veteran is eligible for payment for care as an unauthorized service, and the veteran chooses to submit a claim to the VA for unauthorized services rather than utilizing Medicare benefits.
When a veteran is eligible for Medicare benefits, and the VA has authorized care for only a part of the hospital treatment period. A denial from the VA is not needed prior to submitting a claim to Medicare.
VA advance authorization for care will be via sharing agreement, contract, or written communication. Telephone authorization may be granted in emergency situations. All telephone authorizations are documented by the VA at the time the authorization is granted.
Any VA authorization for an inpatient is terminated when the veteran is determined by VA to be stable for transfer to a VA facility, or the veteran states that he or she is not willing to be transferred to a VA facility for continued treatment upon stabilization.
Medicare and VA will be performing periodic computer data matches to assure that instances of duplicate payment are identified. When duplicate payments are found, Medicare will pursue recovery of its payment, and will develop information for potential referral to the Internal Revenue Service or the Office of Inspector General.
Medicare is secondary payer for services furnished to individuals in the custody of penal authorities. The state (or other government component which operates the prison) in which the beneficiary resides is responsible for all medical costs incurred. Medicare is primary only if the following conditions are met:
State or local requires those individuals or groups of individuals to repay the cost of the medical care incurred while in custody.
The state or local government entity enforces the requirement to pay by billing the incarcerated individual, whether or not covered by Medicare or any other health insurance.
Medicare Automobile Accident
Medicare is secondary to all accident related claims. Beneficiaries may not choose which of these claims will be paid by the automobile insurance and which claims will be paid by Medicare. Providers should submit all accident related claims to the automobile insurance before submitting them to Medicare. To avoid late claim filing, claims may be submitted to Medicare even though payment has not been received from the automobile insurer. In addition, conditional payment can be made by Medicare if 1) the automobile insurance will not pay promptly (within 120 days); or 2) due to physical or mental incapacity, the beneficiary fails to meet the claim filing requirements of the automobile insurer. Conditional payments are made on the condition that the beneficiary will reimburse Medicare if payment is later made by the automobile insurer.
If the automobile insurance benefits are exhausted, Medicare requires a statement of exhaustion from the automobile insurer. The itemized statement must include: the dates of service paid and the actual provider who was reimbursed. Note: Claim processing will be denied without this information.
Providers should complete item 10 of the CMS 1500 claim form if the services are related to an automobile accident. If there is information on our files which indicates that a beneficiary has been involved in an automobile accident, the claim will suspend for manual review. If the details referenced on the claim are not sufficient information to process the claim, a questionnaire will be sent to the beneficiary. If a response is not received from the beneficiary within 45 days, the claim will be denied.
Medicare is secondary to all types of insurance that pay for medical expenses for injuries sustained on the property or premises of the insured, regardless of who caused the accident. This type of insurance includes homeowners and commercial plans. It may also be referred to as medical payments coverage, personal injury protection (PIP), or medical expense coverage.
Providers should follow the claims submission guidelines described in the automobile accident section in this chapter. The exhaustion of benefits and conditional payment rules also apply to no-fault insurance.
Medicare does not pay for services paid for or authorized by governmental entities.
Liability insurance is insurance (including a self-insured plan) that provides payment based upon legally established responsibility for injury, illness or damage to property. It includes, but is not limited to automobile liability and general casualty insurance. It includes payments under State "wrongful death" statues that provide payment for medical damages.
Providers are required to ask Medicare patients, or their representatives, if the services are for treatment of an injury or illness that resulted from an automobile accident or other incident for which the patient holds another party responsible. The provider should obtain the name, address, and policy number of any automobile or non-automobile liability insurance, no fault insurance, or any other party that may be responsible for payment of medical expenses that result from an accident or injury.
Where a provider has reason to believe that he/she provided services to a Medicare beneficiary for whom payment under liability insurance may be available, the provider may:
Within the 120 day promptly period, the provider must bill only the liability insurer unless there is evidence that the liability insurer will not pay within the 120 day promptly period. If the provider has such evidence, he/she may bill Medicare for conditional payment, provided that documentation is supplied to support the fact that payment will not be made promptly; or
After the 120 day promptly period has ended, the provider may, but is not required to, bill Medicare for conditional payment if the liability insurance claim is not finally resolved. If the provider chooses to bill Medicare, he/she must withdraw claims against the liability insurer or a claim against the beneficiary's settlement. If the provider chooses to continue with a claim against the liability settlement, the provider may not bill Medicare.
Provider participates in Medicare Program
: in this case provider bills Medicare - The provider must accept the Medicare approved amount as payment in full and may charge beneficiaries only for deductible and coinsurance; or Provider pursues liability insurance - The provider may charge the beneficiaries actual charges up to the amount of the proceeds of the liability settlement, but he/she may not collect payment from the beneficiary until after the proceeds of the liability insurance are available to the beneficiary.
Provider not Participate in Medicare Program
: in this case Provider bills Medicare accepting assignment - The provider may accept the Medicare approved amount as payment in full and may charge the beneficiaries only for deductible and coinsurance; or
Provider bills Medicare not accepting assignment - The provider may charge beneficiaries no more than the limiting charge and may collect without regard to whether the liability insurance is available to the beneficiary.
For services for which there is no Medicare coverage available regardless of whom furnishes them, the provider may charge and collect actual charges from beneficiaries without regard to whether the proceeds of liability insurance are available to the beneficiary.
Black Lung Benefits
Medicare is secondary for beneficiaries who have medical benefits under the Federal Black Lung Program. Medicare is secondary only for services provided for the treatment of lung conditions caused by mining. Claims for beneficiaries entitled to benefits under the Federal Black Lung Program may suspend for manual review. If the diagnosis or services reported on the claim are not related to the black lung condition, Medicare is primary and the claim will be released for final processing.
For some beneficiaries entitled to the Federal Black Lung Program, the coal mine operator is responsible for medical benefits. In these cases, providers should submit the claims to the coal mine operator or its Workers' Compensation plan for processing.
In accordance with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) requirements, when a primary payer becomes insolvent, Medicare payments will not be made unless the claim is accompanied by an Explanation of Benefits from the receiver (substitute primary payer decided on by the courts) and the court order of payment.
Physicians and suppliers who accept assignment may not collect or seek payment from the beneficiary or their estate for any Medicare covered service(s) during the primary insurer's insolvency process. Providers should file their claims with the primary insurer or the receiver if they have not already done so.
The receiver will determine the full primary payment to be made. Once you have been paid by the receiver, you may bill Medicare for secondary payments, if appropriate. You will have six (6) months from the date of the receiver's Explanation of Benefits to file a claim for secondary payments with Medicare. If the claim is received after the six month filing limit, it will be processed as untimely.
In order for Medicare to process these claims for secondary payment, please provide the following:
- A hard copy of the claim;
- An Explanation of Benefits from the receiver;
- A copy of the court order that addresses this issue.
Employer Plan HMO Coverage
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has clarified that providers are responsible for submitting claims to Medicare for secondary payment consideration when the primary insurer is a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO). Medicare may consider secondary payment for all or part of an employer-sponsored HMO's copayment.
An HMO pays providers a monthly capitation fee to care for its members. Because of this reimbursement, there are no billed charges for the rendered services. Medicare will consider the Medicare fee schedule amount as the billed charge. This amount will also be considered the primary insurer's allowed amount in calculating Medicare liability. The Medicare claim form submitted for the HMO copayment can be completed with standard information:
Item 24F Charges
Item 28 (total charge) – Enter total charges for the services (i.e., total of all charges in item 24f)
Since providers collect HMO copayments at the time of service, a copayment receipt signed by the beneficiary must be submitted with the claim. The receipt will be accepted in lieu of the primary benefits statement or explanation of benefits (EOB) required in all other Medicare secondary payer situations. The receipt must clearly indicate "HMO copayment." To assist you with this requirement, you may copy the form shown below and use it for this purpose.
When an acceptable co-payment receipt is not submitted with a claim, payment for these services may be delayed or could result in a denial of the claims. HMO co-payment receipts submitted with Medicare Secondary Payer claims should meet certain requirements.
The original co-payment receipt, signed by the beneficiary on the date they were seen should be attached to the claim form.
should be one receipt for each date of service submitted on the claim form.
If the patient did not pay the co-pay at the time of the service, a co-pay receipt should not have been submitted with the claim. A receipt should only be issued to the patient if the patient paid the co-pay at the time of their service.
Medicare will send any reimbursement for non-assigned claims submitted for HMO copayment to the beneficiary. For assigned claims submitted for HMO copayment, Medicare's payment will be sent to the provider who in turn must reimburse the beneficiary.
Services Obtained Outside the HMO Plan
Generally, Medicare will not pay for services obtained from a source outside the HMO plan. If a beneficiary wants or needs to go to a provider outside the plan, an authorization must be obtained from the HMO plan. If authorization is not obtained, the HMO will not make payment. If the beneficiary has not been notified in writing of this rule and the HMO will not make payment, Medicare will process the claim for payment. Once the beneficiary has been notified, Medicare payment will not be made for future services obtained outside the plan.