Medicare Questions

Senior Health Insurance Information Program

Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP) is a statewide initiative that helps Medicare beneficiaries evaluate and better understand coverage options.

SHIIP counselors are volunteers who meet face-to-face with those wading through an overwhelming maze of possibilities. They compare health needs against Medicare’s policy options to find the plan(s) that best meet health needs in the most cost-effective way. This helps beneficiaries make informed decisions about their insurance coverage. Counselors can investigate Medicare denials to help determine if an appeal is needed and offer assistance in that process.

You don't need not wait until an open enrollment period to begin thinking about Medicare coverage; SHIIP volunteers are available by appointment year-round and their service is 100% free.

If you or someone you know may benefit from a conversation with a SHIIP volunteer at Regional Medical Center call 563-927-7767 to arrange a visit. 

Why do I have to give you information about other insurance if I have Medicare coverage?

We need information about all of your insurance coverage. Medicare requires us to bill any insurance company that may be responsible before we bill Medicare. We cannot file claims until your other insurance company has determined what they are responsible for paying.

If you enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, that plan is responsible for your medical claims. Medicare Advantage Plans are not the same as Medigap plans or Medicare Supplements. Some Medicare Advantage Plans have provider networks and may require you obtain a referral for services. For more information on Medicare Advantage plans, refer to Medicare's “Medicare and You” handbook. For information on how your Medicare Advantage Plan works, contact your insurance plan or refer to the Evidence of Coverage supplied by your plan.

I have health insurance in addition to Medicare coverage. Will you bill that insurance company also?

Yes. If you have given us information about your additional health insurance, we will bill that insurance company after Medicare has made their payment.

Do I have to sign any forms before RMC can bill Medicare?

Yes. Medicare requires that we ask a series of questions to determine the insurance with primary responsibility for the claim at each visit.

You will need to sign the Consent for Treatment form each time you receive services.

What is a Medicare Explanation of Benefits form?

The Explanation of Benefits (EOB) form is a document that Medicare sends to you after it has processed your medical claims. The EOB form provides you with information about the payment status of your bill.

What is the difference between Part A and Part B Explanation of Benefits forms?

Part A covers inpatient hospitalization and Part B covers outpatient and provider services.

What should I do with the Explanation of Benefits form?

We recommend you keep the Explanation of Benefits forms you receive from Medicare until your medical claims have been paid in full.

Should I pay the balance that is listed on "your total responsibility" on the Explanation of Benefits form?

No. This amount may change depending on your individual insurance coverage. Please wait until you receive a bill from us before making payment.

Will I have to pay any money for my hospital visits?

Yes. As a Medicare patient, you will be responsible for non-covered charges, co-pays, and deductible amounts. These amounts may vary depending on your Medicare coverage. We do not know what your payment may be until we receive the notification from Medicare. Once Medicare lets us know your responsibility, we will bill any other health insurance for the balance. If you do not have other health insurance, you will receive a bill for the balance.

Will my service or visit be covered by Medicare?

Medicare covers medically necessary services and some preventive services. The preventive services coverage is often dependent on the frequency of the service. For specific benefit information, please refer to

Why am I getting a bill for medications during an outpatient stay or service?

Medicare Part B does not cover drugs considered to be self-administrable. This means that the patient could, in another setting, have taken the medication by him or herself. The types of medications considered to be self-administrable include tablets, inhalers, sprays, ointments, drops, and some injectibles, such as insulin. These are generally the types of medicines you take at home.

Most Medicare supplements also do not cover the self-administrable medications.

Please see your Medicare handbook, visit the Medicare website, or call Medicare if you have additional questions.

What are Advance Beneficiary Notices?

Medicare covers medically necessary services and certain preventive services. Please visit for specific benefit coverage information.

Advance Beneficiary Notice (ABN), is used to inform you that Medicare may not cover a service because it does not meet their definition of medically necessary. The purpose of the form is to help you make an informed decision. For these services, you must be notified in advance that the service will likely not be covered. The notice must include what test or services will likely not be covered, as well as an estimate of the cost of those services. If you choose to have the test or service, even though Medicare is unlikely to pay for it, you will receive a bill for the service(s) if Medicare does not pay for them. Click to view a blank ABN.

Because Medicare is unlikely to pay for the service does not mean that you should not receive it. There may be a good reason your provider ordered the service.

Outreach-and-Education available from Medicare-Learning-Network