Top 9 Medicare Questions
The following 9 questions and answers are the most frequently asked.
- What is Medicare?
- Will I automatically be enrolled in Medicare when I turn 65?
- Who submits my bills to Medicare? How much do I have to pay?
- How can I find out if I have Medicare coverage?
- I can't afford my Medicare premiums. What can I do?
- How can I get a Replacement Medicare card?
- Who do I contact to change my name and address for Medicare purposes?
- What is Medicare + Choice?
- How can I leave a Medicare Health Plan?
Medicare is a Federal health insurance program for people 65 years or older, certain people with disabilities, and people with permanent kidney failure treated with dialysis or a transplant. Medicare has two parts - Part A which is hospital insurance, and Part B which is medical insurance.
About 3 months prior to your 65th birthday or 24th month of disability, you will be sent an Initial Enrollment Package that will contain information about Medicare, a questionnaire and your Medicare card. If you want both Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) and Part B (medical insurance), you should sign your Medicare card, and keep it in your wallet. If you don't want Part B coverage, you must put an X in the refusal box on the back of the Medicare card form; sign the form, and return it with the card to Social Security at the address shown. You will then be sent a new Medicare card showing that you only have Part A.
If you are enrolled in Medicare, your doctor or other health care provider will file your claim with Medicare. You'll receive a statement showing how much you'll need to pay. If you do not receive a Medicare statement (Medicare Summary Notice or Explanation of Medicare Benefits), you'll need to contact your local carrier to have them send you a copy. Check the Important Phone Numbers page of this web site for the phone number of your carrier. If you have supplemental insurance or Medigap, they may pay part of your costs. Check with your supplemental insurance company to find out what they will pay.
You must call the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 or contact your local Social Security Office to verify your Medicare Part A and Part B coverage. This information can also be found on your Medicare card.
If your income is limited, your State may help pay your Medicare costs such as your premiums and deductibles. Check the Important Phone Numbers page of this web site for the phone number of your State Medical Assistance Program. They can help you determine if you are qualified. The Qualified Medicare Beneficiary Program (also known as QMB) pays the Medicare monthly Part B premium, deductibles and coinsurance. The Specified Low Income Medicare Beneficiary Program (also known as SLMB) helps pay the Medicare monthly Part B premium for qualified Medicare beneficiaries.
If you lose your card, you can obtain a replacement card by phone at 1-800-772-1213, or online at the Social Security Administration web site. Make sure you have your Medicare number ready when you call. You should receive your new card in about four weeks.
If you have had a recent name or address change, it will need to be reported to the Social Security Administration. Social Security will notify Medicare of the change when they change their records. Their phone number can be found in the Important Phone Numbers page of this web site. If you are enrolled in Medicare, you should also notify the Part B carrier of your new name or address change. The carrier processes your claims for doctor bills and other medical expenses. Check the Important Phone Numbers section of this web site for the phone number of your carrier. If you are in a Medicare managed care plan, you should contact your plan of any name or address changes.
Medicare + Choice is a term used to describe the various health plan options available to Medicare beneficiaries.
You can leave a plan in one of three ways.
Call the plan you wish to leave, and ask for a disenrollment form; or
Call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) to request that your disenrollment be processed over the phone; or
Call the Social Security Administration or visit your Social Security Office to file your disenrollment request.
The phone number for the Social Security office in your area can be found in the Important Phone Numbers section of this site.