What not to throw away
If you’re a Medicare beneficiary, you might have noticed that from time to time, you get a lot of mail. There are medical records, healthcare plan coverage documents, doctor service statements and various notices that you might receive over time. With so many documents, it can be tough to know which are unimportant and which you should hold on to. Some of these documents are important for your healthcare records and will be used for medical services. Here are some of the most important Medicare documents to keep:
One of the first things a person who is enrolled in Medicare will receive is their insurance card. It should come in the mail soon after enrolling. For those who sign up for a plan during the open enrollment period, cards are issued 30 days after manual enrollment and coverage begins in July. The Medicare card is crucial to hold on to and use during any doctor, specialist or hospital visit. In addition, a Medicare prescription drug plan card should be used when picking up any medications.
Some seniors will be automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A, which has no premium expense. Those who are eligible for automatic enrollment should receive their Medicare card in the mail three months before they reach 65, the Medicare eligibility age. The Medicare card lists the name of the beneficiary, the Medicare claim number and coverage dates. Every person enrolled in Medicare will receive their own card, even if their spouse is also signed up.
If a card is lost or stolen, a person can apply for a replacement at the Social Security Administration website. It is important to a report a stolen Medicare card to the Social Security Administration immediately.
Payment and verification records
When doing things like applying for a new Medicare card, the Social Security Administration will ask for personal information, in addition to financial information regarding healthcare payments and services. For this reason, it is a good idea to hold onto payment history records and documents if benefits were received over the previous year. This can help protect against fraud and ensure that the correct costs are administered.
Additionally, any records that contain verification clauses should also be kept. These might come in handy later when filing a claim.
Annual notice of change
Every year, Medicare will send its recipients an annual notice of change that alerts them to new changes in their healthcare plans, including different costs, coverage choices and service areas. This document should be kept and closely reviewed.
In addition to the annual notice of chance, those enrolled in a prescription drug plan should receive a notice of creditable coverage that explains what prescription coverages are “creditable.” For Medicare policyholders, this means that the prescription coverage is expected to be as much as a Medicare prescription drug plan, or Part D plans. If a notice of creditable coverage is issued, the document should be kept.
Both the annual notice of chance and the notice of creditable coverage documents should arrive in September of every plan year.
Summary of benefits
The Affordable Care Act changed a number of things about the healthcare system, but most importantly, the new laws made the system more accessible and easier to navigate for most Americans. One way the new legislation did this was to provide the 180 million Americans who receive private insurance with a summary of benefits.
Most plainly, a summary of benefits is a clear list of benefits and services that are covered under a person’s healthcare plan. The document is intended to provide consumers with a better understanding of their coverage options. Additionally, it allows Americans to compare coverage options easily for the first time. The summary of benefits lists services that are covered, coverage limitations and exceptions, costs and any other key features of the healthcare plan.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid compare the summary of benefits to the nutrition facts on packaged food. It is a standardized tool for healthcare beneficiaries to understand their plan and coverage. Consumers will receive a summary of benefits within seven business days of requesting one from their healthcare provider, upon enrolling in a new plan, while shopping for a new plan and at the start of a new plan year.
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