Every three months, many aging parents get a massive form from Medicare which they don’t always understand. The Medicare Summary Notice can be somewhat confusing to many seniors. However, after reading this article, hopefully these notices will make more sense.
Not a Bill
The first thing to realize is that the Summary Notice is NOT a bill. There are a lot of numbers all through the notice, many of which talk about how much a certain procedure or consultation or other medical-related event costs. A lot of aging parents gasp and think that they owe all the money in this statement. That’s usually not the case.
Instead, the Notice takes your Medicare expenses for the latest three-month period and puts them all in one place. It’s going to list the services you were billed for, how much those services cost, how much is covered by Medicare, and how much (if anything) you owe for each service. It will also total up all of those figures, giving you a total for the amount that you owe. (Although that figure may be split up among several service providers.)
It’s important to see if the figures on the Notice are correct. Take out the bills or receipts you received for medical expenses during the period, and check to make sure that the information on the Notice matches what you have in your paperwork.
If there are charges for services that you think you didn’t get, call the service provider and find out if there has been an error. Sometimes it may be due to a typo or entry error; a code may have been entered incorrectly, so that you are being billed for the wrong service. If that’s the case, ask the service provider to resubmit the claim with the right information.
If a service you received is listed as not being covered by Medicare but you think that it IS supposed to be covered, call Medicare (800-633-4227) and go over this with them. There may have been a mistake on their end.
Some aging parents look at their Medicare Summary Notice as one more layer of red tape. It can be a bit time consuming, but it is also a good way to double check to make sure you are not being billed incorrectly for medical services.