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Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman
Medicare Benefits For Railroad Retirement Beneficiaries
(Posted November 19, 2002)
Question 200: Is the Medicare program the same for Rail workers as it is for the general public? If it is, then am I responsible for any charges not paid by Medicare? (I have a $20 bill from a radiology lab for the portion of charges that were not paid by Medicare. It's now been turned over to a collection agency. I also have coverage from the railroad group policy. Do I have to pay this?)
Answer: First, rail workers and their families are covered under the regular Medicare program. But the payment of Part B benefits (for doctor and other provider services) is handled nationwide by a single insurance company specially designated by the Railroad Retirement Board.
Under Part B, you pay the first $100 of charges each calendar year. Medicare then pays 80% of all other approved charges. You pay the remaining 20% of those charges.
Because you have coverage under a railroad group insurance policy in addition to Medicare, that insurance usually supplements Medicare and so it should pay the 20% that Medicare doesn't pay. I would suggest you submit the radiology lab bill to your railroad group insurance plan and notify the collection agancy that you have done so.
(Author's note: This is the 200th question answered by this column, an important milestone! I want to thank the loyal readers who continue to challange me with their interesting questions about Railroad Retirement.)
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