The agent (e.g., Blue Cross) that has contracted with providers of service to process claims for reimbursement under health care coverage. In addition to handling financial matters, it may perform other functions such as providing consultative services or serving as a center for communication with providers and making audits of providers’ needs. This entity may also be referred to as TPA or third party administrator. A private organization, usually an insurance company, that serves as an agent for the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA), which is part of HHS, that determines the amount of payment due to hospitals and other providers and paying them for the Medicare services they have provided. Intermediaries make initial coverage determinations and handle the early stages of beneficiary appeals.