New medical billing offers convenience

Maj. Alice Ledoux-Abraham Landstuhl Regional Medical Center

Receptionists at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center and outlying health clinics are now asking all patients other than active duty members for medical insurance information.
The military has two medical insurance collection programs. One is the Third Party Collection program, which is designed to recover funds from insurance companies for care delivered to certain beneficiaries. Usually, a TPC patient is a retiree or family member who is TRICARE eligible, but also has commercial health insurance.
Direct billing is the other method and is designed for civilians (pay patients). LRMC can directly bill their insurance company eliminating the need for the patients to file their claims. LRMC will later send the patient a bill if a co-pay is required.
Both programs are easy to enroll in; if people have commercial insurance, provide LRMC with the information and fill out an insurance information form. The request seeks the insurance information so proper billing and collections can take place. Military treatment facilities are required by Congress to collect these funds to support medical operations. Military treatment facilities are required to recover funds from third party insurance carriers. Patients should plan to arrive early for appointments so they have time to complete the form,
The TPC program has great benefits. First, the funds are used at the facility where care was delivered. The funds are used to enhance patient care, expand services, purchase equipment, and supplies. All funds are used locally and only for patient care. Second, there is no cost to the patient and your insurance premiums will not be affected by TPC. Finally, it can help you save money by meeting your deductibles. This insurance is something people or their employers may be paying for but goes unused when you receive care at MTFs.
If people have insurance other than TRICARE, their insurance information is needed to make both programs a continued success.
Will TPC affect insurance premiums? No. Health insurance premiums, unlike automobile insurance, do not increase simply because it is used. Instead, rates are usually determined by calculated statistical risk data based on the entire insured group.
Will individuals be billed if the full cost of care is not collected? Under the TPC program, no. LRMC does not balance-bill for any remaining portion of the bill submitted to the insurance company. For Direct billing patients, yes. LRMC will send the co-pay required to the patients.
How can TPC save people money? TPC can help pay annual deductibles. When people use their health insurance at civilian providers, most plans have a deductible that must be paid by the patient before the insurance company pays the bill. TPC can help pay this by billing the insurance company for their care LRMC.
The cost of that deductible is subtracted from the bill. If there is a remaining balance, this is not a bill. LRMC absorbs the cost of the deductible.
How can direct billing help? This program eliminates the hassle patients sometimes have with dealing with insurance companies and also relieves them of the financial burden of paying the entire amount for medical bills.
If you have insurance other than TRICARE and receive care at any MTF or for more information, call the Treasury Office at 486-6359 or 06371-86-6359.