Limitations and solutions
for Medicare patients
Medicare does not cover services by Naturopathic Doctors.
Medicare does not recognize Naturopathic Doctors, precluding our clinic from ordering labs or billing Medicare for services. This is true even if the patient wants to pay for labs out of pocket*.
That makes things a bit more complicated for patients on Medicare who want naturopathic medicine.
* For labs that bill Medicare. Labs that do not have any contractual relationship with Medicare may opt to receive cash payments for lab services. This is relatively rare.
Fortunately, we can and do see Medicare patients at The Mana Clinic. All services, procedures and supplements are provided on a “cash” basis. This simply means that the patients pay for their services and items at the time of service via the patient portal.
We have had great success working with Medicare patients primary provider to coordinate care. This includes having the primary care provider forward lab results to our clinic to be used by our doctors in developing treatment plans for patients.
Some Medicare patients have Medicare as their primary, but also have secondary insurance that covers Naturopathic Doctors.
Secondary insurance on the may cover a portion of your appointment, but we cannot bill Medicare directly at all.
The workaround recommended by Noridian (Medicare processor) is for patients to submit a bill to Medicare and generate a denial letter.
Question: How does a provider request a Denial Only letter?
Answer. Providers who are eligible to enroll in Medicare must do so if they provide covered services to a Medicare beneficiary. Under the Mandatory Claim Submission rule, it is a requirement that providers and suppliers submit Medicare claims for all covered services on behalf of Medicare beneficiaries.
For providers who cannot enroll in Medicare, such as naturopathic doctor, or for services that are non-covered, a 1490S form must be submitted. The 1490S, is a form that must be completed and submitted by the beneficiary. To check the status of the form, the patient must contact the Beneficiary Call Center and they will also receive the Medicare Summary Notice which can be used to submit to a supplemental insurance.
As noted above we cannot bill directly or check on claim status on the patient’s behalf.
For Medicare patients with secondary insurance, we ask them to pay for services up front, submit their Medicare bill and provide us with the denial letter. Once we receive the denial letter, we can bill their secondary insurance on their behalf. When we receive the payment and explanation of benefits from the patients secondary insurance, we refund any overpayment from the initial date of service.
Please note that insurance companies have “timely filing limits”. This means they need to receive a claim within a certain time after the date of service. Although this generally is extended for secondary insurance as the primary is processed, there is the potential for secondary insurance to deny coverage due to missing the timely filing limits. Claims denied by secondary for timely filing limit issues will result in the patient being liable for the visit and procedures.
Please note that we cannot submit labs for patients with Medicare, even if they have secondary insurance that covers Naturopathic Doctors.