Critical Medicare Alerts and Updates

Dec 27th, 2010 | By Sharon Shaw Elrod MSW EdD | Category: Social Security & Medicare

Senior Citizen Journal editors and writers are all senior citizens.  We all received Medicare Summary Notices (MSN) recently and discovered some valuable information that we report here.

The ‘General Information’ section has the following notices:

  1. If you want an itemized statement from your doctor or hospital or any health care provider, all you have to do is make the request in writing.  Sometimes we get bills from a medical office, and we end up wondering what the service was for.  All we have to do is ask for an itemized statement to find out.
  2. Medicare coverage for outpatient physical therapy and speech-language therapy is limited to $1860 for the entire year, 2011.  If your doctor refers you for such care, be sure you know what the charges will be.  Asking questions when you register for treatment is the best way to get the answers you need.
  3. THIS IS A CHANGE FROM PRIOR YEARS:  “If you aren’t due a payment check from Medicare, your Medicare Summary Notices (MSN) will now be mailed to you on a quarterly basis.  You will no longer get a monthly statement in the mail for these types of MSNs.  You will now get a statement every 90 days summarizing all of your Medicare claims.  Your provider may send you a bill that you may need to pay before you get your MSN.  When you get your MSN, look to see if you paid more than the MSN says is due.  If you paid more, call your provider about a refund.  If you have any questions about the bill from your provider, you should call your provider.” (Quoted verbatim from the MSN, December 2010)
  4. FOR BABY BOOMERS:  You need to call Medicare within the six (6) months before you retire to update your records regarding your current insurance.  Some insurance pays before Medicare; most policies are supplemental and pay after Medicare.
  5. Be sure you are registered online for your Medicare account.  You can now request your “Medicare & You” handbook electronically, so you don’t have to find a place to store that huge document; you can do it on your computer, and have immediate access to information it contains.

The online site for Medicare has all the information you need for signing up, explaining benefits, tracking your MSNs and all things related to Medicare.  It’s very user friendly and SCJ recommends you use it regularly.



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