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How Does Medicare Work with Other Insurance Plans?

  • Medicare with Melissa

If someone 65 and up has a health insurance plan in addition to Medicare, such as employee group coverage if they or their spouse is still working, or through a company retiree plan, who determines which one covers what, when and how much?

Each insurer is called a payer. As Medicare explains, in the case of multiple payers, there are rules determining who pays first (primary) and who pays the remainder of the cost(secondary) when you have other insurance.

Primary and secondary

Let’s say you have two health insurance plans and a doctor’s visit bill. Your primary will pay as much of it as the plan allows.

The secondary will then pay remaining costs, if any. Depending on the type of coverage, the secondary payer may or may not pick up all of the remaining balance.

Another thing to consider: if Medicare is your primary and your group health or retiree coverage is the secondary, the other insurance will not pay unless you are enrolled in Original Medicare Part B, which covers doctor visits.

Medicare conditional payments

If your other insurance company fails to pay a claim within a reasonable amount of time, it’s possible your healthcare provider will send Medicare the bill.

At that time, Medicare may make what’s called a conditional payment, so that you don’t have to pay out-of-pocket for the expense.

Medicare will typically seek to recover that payment later, since the other insurance was the primary and therefore, should have paid it to begin with. If you receive a settlement or other type of payment, you’ll need to reimburse Medicare yourself.

We’re your Medicare experts

As always, we’re here to help you sort out Medicare-related coverage matters and make the choices that best fit your needs.

Learn More: Coordinating Medicare and COBRA

People Also Read: Medicare Covers the COVID-19 Vaccine at No Cost to You

Meet Melissa MacCalla

Medicare is not simple and can be hard, frustrating, and downright confusing for most. I love when I get someone on the phone and I am given the opportunity to explain the difference in plans to them and have Medicare make sense. I enjoy talking to clients year after year, hearing about their families growing or them asking about mine.


Oh my gosh!! I was so confused about the Medicare Supplement process. I am turning 65 soon and am retired and have always had insurance thru my former employer. I didn’t know a thing about going on Medicare and was struggling to sort it all out.

A friend of mine recommended contacting Senior HealthCare Solutions, so I did. Melissa was FANTASTIC!! She was professional, responsive, caring and friendly. She explained the steps I needed to take, gathered my information, helped me choose good plans for MY specific needs and took care of my applications over the phone. 1-2-3, eesy-peesy and I was done!! And it didn’t cost me a DIME!!! WOW!!! I HIGHLY recommend Senior Healthcare Solutions for anyone who’s overwhelmed with making the right choices with Medicare Supplemental Insurance and Rx coverage. It’ll take a load off your mind!

Janice W.

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