October 26, 2014

Railroad Medicare is Part B Medicare for retirees

Palmetto GBA is reminding railroad retirees that Railroad Medicare Part B provides coverage for services such as doctors’ visits, ambulance transports, lab tests and some supplies. Benefits are the same for eligible individuals, whether eligibility is through Railroad Retirement or Social Security.

Railroad Medicare is funded by a portion of Railroad Retirement Tier I and Social Security payroll taxes paid by employees and employers. Monthly premiums are also applied to the program.

There are times when Medicare-participating providers and suppliers don’t understand that if they accept Medicare Part B, this includes Railroad Medicare too.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) has incorporated information about Railroad Medicare in its online manual publications pertaining to Medicare Policy and Regulation. The CMS manual states:

“Carrier jurisdiction claims for individuals who are QRRBs (Qualified Railroad Retirement Beneficiaries), including those who are entitled to both Social Security and Railroad Retirement benefits, are handled by the Palmetto Government Benefits Administrators (GBA) L.L.C., a subsidiary of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of South Carolina.”

The CMS also includes information about Railroad Medicare in its annual Medicare & You booklet mailed to Medicare patients every year.

When Palmetto GBA conducts educational events or speaks one-on-one with providers and suppliers, they always explain what Railroad Medicare is and confirm that Medicare Part B benefits are standard nationwide.

If a provider or supplier you want to work with participates in Medicare, but states “not Railroad Medicare,” Palmetto GBA recommends that they call Palmetto’s Provider Contact Center at (888) 355-9165. Palmetto’s staff is trained to discuss these matters with all Part B providers and suppliers. They also recommend providers or suppliers visit Palmetto’s website at www.PalmettoGBA.com/RR.

If you have questions about your Part B coverage, call Palmetto’s Beneficiary Contact Center at (800) 833-4455, Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET.

Palmetto also encourages beneficiaries to visit their website at www.PalmettoGBA.com/RR/Me and sign up for email updates. To do so, select “Email Updates” on the lower left-hand side of the web page under “Stay Connected.”