Tuesday, July 21, 2015

IBM Medicare OneExchange Reimbursement for Opt-Out Doctors

I wrote about this a while ago but thought it was worth another posting because it continues to be an area that is annoying and there is no place that I found on OneExchange's site to tell you what to do.
Last week I submitted two paid bills from a doctor that does not accept Medicare.  That is, the doctor has chosen to "Opt Out".  He doesn't submit his bills to Medicare for processing (and denial) and my supplemental insurance is a standard medigap so it will not cover anything that Medicare will not cover.  Sometimes retiree secondary insurance provided by companies (yeah, there are still companies that still provide group plan coverage) do cover procedures not covered by Medicare such as acupuncture.  These insurance policies often want the doctor bill to be processed and denied by Medicare before they will pay for the services. We lost that kind of coverage when IBM threw us over the wall to OneExchange but if you have a spouse who covers you with that kind of insurance, there is a way for you to submit the claim to Medicare yourself.  The directions are on www.medicare.gov.
I don't often go to opt-out doctors so I didn't submit the claim the exact way OneExchange wants it done.  Of course, they denied my claim.  They said I had to submit an EOB from my insurance company with the bills.  That's really clear direction!  What they want to see is how much the insurance company had paid because I wasn't clear on the OneExchange claim form that this was an opt-out doctor service.
A digression: an EOB is an Explanation of Benefits statement that comes from a private insurance company.  OneExchange is assuming, by using that phrase, that I either bought a Medicare Advantage policy or I have original Medicare and bought a secondary policy.  Neither might be true and, as a claimant, I might only have original Medicare coverage.  If so, then the only thing I'd receive is an "MSN" or a Medicare Summary Notice, which is the original Medicare statement that is sent quarterly from Medicare.  OneExchange uses "EOB" even when they mean "MSN". 
Back to the topic of the blog post.  There are no directions anywhere from OneExchange on how to submit an "Opt-out" claim. Here's what to do:
  • You need a bill from the doctor that is marked paid in full.
  • You need the receipt for that payment (credit card or check) so do not pay the doctor in cash unless they can give you a separate receipt with your name on it! If you paid from an account, you must prove the payment is from an account that belongs to you so be sure there is some identification on the statement you provide that names you as the payer. I ran into this because when I print out my credit card transactions there is no owner name on the print out for a single item.  What I do now is make a copy of my credit card, black out all the numbers but the ones that match the print out and submit the card image with the claim to prove it was from my account.
  • You have to write on the OneExchange claim form that the doctor has opted out of Medicare. For extra measure, I also write it on the doctor's statement.  
I forgot to write the opt-out information on the claim form (I only wrote it on the bill).  So, of course, I had to resubmit the claim. 

For most of this year submitting claims to OneExchange has been less irritating for me that last year.  Nonetheless, it is still annoying.

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