MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. - Many active-duty family members, retired military and their families are covered by a commercial insurance provider. Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune’s Other Health Insurance Program can save these patients money and benefit the hospital at the same time.
The program collects from commercial insurance providers without charging patients for any outpatient bills. Active-duty family members, retired military and their family members covered by a commercial insurance provider can use that insurance at the hospital without paying for any co-pays or deductibles.
In fact, the hospital will cover the co-pay and the deductible for the patient, saving beneficiaries money by helping to cover their yearly deductible each time they visit NHCL. It is a win-win situation for the hospital and the patients.
“The money that we get from the third-party insurance stays here at the hospital,” said Bobbi Cavender, the Uniform Business Office manager with NHCL. “So we use the money that we collect from insurance companies to provide additional services, renovate spaces and in some cases hire more people. So the money stays here to benefit soldiers, Marines and sailors and their families that are seen at this hospital.”
NHCL collected approximately $2 million from third-party insurance providers last year. This came at no cost to the patients covered under commercial insurance.
It’s very simple for patrons to take advantage of this program, said Cavender. They only need to fill out and submit a DD2569 form once a year. That informs the hospital that a patient has commercial insurance. Patients can receive the form by informing any one of the clerks at the hospital that they have third-party insurance.
Many people are afraid to tell the hospital they have a third-party provider because they think they will be billed by the hospital, said Cavender. This is not the case.
“It’s a hassle sometimes to the patient to fill out the form, but that’s the only downside I see,” said Cavender. “Just the fact that you’re not paying your co-pays and your not paying you’re deductibles, we’re helping you to meet that. If you have third-party insurance, you’re paying your premium anyway.”
But the advantages don’t stop at co-pays and deductibles. Aside from the care offered at NHCL, patients who cannot get a personal doctor on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune can get referrals from their doctors in town to fill prescriptions and have procedures done at NHCL. That way they still save money, benefit the hospital and take advantage of the medical programs and opportunities provided at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune.
This is a Department of Defense-wide program, so the benefits expand beyond MCB Camp Lejeune, noted Cavender. Congress instructed military medical facilities to collect from commercial providers. The benefits that apply to patients at NHCL therefore extend to patients at other military hospitals as well.
In August 2011, the hospital learned that a family filled prescriptions at the Marine Corps Exchange here. The family had commercial insurance since 2006, but they only informed the hospital in 2011. As a result, the hospital could not collect from the insurance provider and lost out on thousands of dollars. NHCL relies on patients to share the information.
However, it’s not too late to report a third-party insurance provider after an initial visit. The hospital can collect from some third-party providers up to a year after procedures, and once the insurance is reported to the hospital they can continue to collect until the patient changes their insurance.
If a patient’s insurance only covers a percentage for certain outpatient visits or trips to the pharmacy, the naval hospital will cover the remainder for them. The patient would have to pay the co-pays and deductibles on their own out in town in addition to paying their co-pay and deductible charges, said Cavender. A patient’s insurance prices should not increase because they receive care at NHCL.
“Don’t be scared,” reiterated Cavender. “You won’t get a bill. It really is going to benefit the patient as well as the hospital.”