So, you’ve successfully enrolled in your Medicare benefits. Not sure what to do next?
Understanding how to use your Medicare is the next step for a smooth transition in to your new healthcare coverage. From becoming familiar with your Medicare card, to understanding your rights and responsibilities, to knowing exactly how and when to make your premium payments, we are here to walk with you step-by-step on your Medicare journey.
Understanding Your Medicare Card
Once you’ve enrolled in Original Medicare (Parts A and B), whether automatically or on your own, Social Security will mail your Medicare card to the address on file with the Social Security Administration.
This card is for Medicare Parts A and B only. You’ll receive additional cards if you decided to enroll in Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement and stand-alone Part D.
Your Medicare Card contains important personal information, so make sure you keep it somewhere safe and don’t share this information with anybody except your medical providers.
On Your Medicare Card
Important information that you will find on your Medicare card includes:
✓ The phone number for Medicare. Use this to contact Medicare for any issues you have.
✓ Your Medicare claim number. This number is unique to you and should be protected at all times.
✓ The Medicare parts you are currently enrolled in (Part A and/or Part B). When first applying, make sure these match the Medicare parts you wish to be enrolled in.
✓ The date(s) that your coverage begins. These are important as they not only relate to the start of your benefits, but also your ability to enroll during your IEP.
Depending on the plan you selected, you will have your Medicare card as well as other cards such as a Medicare Advantage card, Medicare Supplement card and/or a Medicare Part D card. Keep your cards safe and handy as you will need to present them to your various providers and pharmacies to receive your benefits.
Note: If you enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, you will no longer need to present your red, white and blue Medicare card to providers as all your care is coordinated through your Medicare Advantage company.
How Do I Protect My Medicare Card?
Similar to the privacy relating to other cards in your wallet, you should approach your Medicare card with the same level of protection. Make sure your medical provider and insurance brokers are using encrypted electronic transmissions in all transactions. If using other forms, make sure they are taking the necessary precautions to protect your information.
What if I lose my Medicare card?
If you misplace your Medicare card, you can request a replacement from Social Security either online or via phone.
✓ Option 1 – Visit the Medicare Card Replacement section on the Social Security website, or
✓ Option 2 – Call the Social Security Hotline at 1-800-772-1213. (TTY users call 1-800-325-0778).
NOTE: Your actual replacement card could take up to 30 days to get to you in the mail. Should you need proof of benefits prior to that, ask and they can provide you proof until your replacement card arrives.
What is an Authorized Representative?
Typically, an authorized representative is your guardian, your durable power-of-attorney for healthcare or just your durable power-of-attorney. This person is somebody you select to assist you with your Medicare-related matters, which include:
✓ Selecting and enrolling in a plan.
✓ Changing or leaving a plan.
✓ Handling claims and payments of your existing plan.
✓ Handling appeals on your behalf, which includes the review and submission of personal medical information when working with appeals.
How do I appoint my Authorized Representative?
To appoint your authorized representative, you can complete the online version of the “authorization to disclose personal health information” form at mymedicare.gov.
Can I change my Authorized Representative?
Yes, you can do so by calling Medicare at 1-800-633-4227.
Your Medicare Rights and Responsibilities
Regardless of what plan you chose or how you receive your Medicare benefits, you have certain rights and protections designated to you. As a Medicare beneficiary, you also have responsibilities and guidelines that you must follow to ensure that your Medicare experience is a positive one.
✓ Be treated with dignity and respect at all times.
✓ Be protected from discrimination. Every company or agency that works with Medicare must obey the law. They can’t treat you differently because of your race, color, national origin, disability, age, religion or gender.
✓ Have your personal and health information kept private.
✓ Have access to doctors, specialists and hospitals.
✓ Obtain information in a way you understand from Medicare, healthcare providers, and, under certain circumstances, contractors, to help you make healthcare decisions.
✓ Learn about your treatment choices in clear language that you can understand, and participate in treatment decisions.
✓ Have access to Medicare-covered services in an emergency.
✓ File a complaint if you’re not satisfied with the care that you have received.
✓ File an appeal regarding coverage or payment decisions.
✓ Protect your Medicare card(s) at all times.
✓ Read all communications from Medicare, both mailed and electronic.
✓ Know your enrollment periods, including your open enrollment periods, to make changes or additions to your current Medicare benefits.
✓ Gather information and ask questions regarding aspects of Medicare that you do not understand.
✓ Ask your healthcare providers if they accept Medicare or your Medicare Advantage plan prior to receiving services.
✓ Call Medicare if you believe you were misled or misguided by a doctor, medical provider or insurance agent.
Be Aware of SSA
Should you expect calls from Social Security? No, you shouldn’t, and here’s what you need to know.
The SSA will never call you and ask for your Social Security number. Never. In fact, it is rare that SSA will ever call you. So, even if your caller ID shows the 1-800-772-1213 number, be suspicious as that can’t be trusted.
Do not give any personal information over the phone, including your social security number, credit card or bank account information. An authentic SSA representative would never ask you for this information.
Important!!! Never share your Medicare number over the phone, via email, or with someone whose identity cannot be verified.
Identity Theft and Fraud
Unfortunately, identify theft and fraud have become huge concerns for Medicare beneficiaries, with scammers targeting their victims via phone, social media, at events, and even door-to-door. It is crucial to be vigilant and aware of these scams, and to protect your Medicare card and number as you would your other personal identification.
If you suspect someone is misusing your Medicare information, you should immediately call one of the following:
✓ 1-800-Medicare or 1-800-633-4227 (TTY call 1-877-486-2048) – Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).
✓ 1-800-447-8477 – The Fraud Hotline of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Office of the Inspector General.
✓ 1-877-438-4338. (TTY 1-866-653-4261) – The Federal Trade Commission’s ID Theft hotline.
Benefits of Registering with Medicare.gov
Medicare.gov is a helpful tool in managing your Medicare benefits.
Registering for this website gives you access to your personalized information at any time.
On this site, you’re able to:
✓ Check your Medicare claims.
✓ Check your health and prescription enrollment information.
✓ Check Your Part D deductible information.
✓ Create an “on the go” report that allows you to print your health information to share with your doctors.
Did You Know?
Did you know that you can download Medicare’s “What’s covered” app on your mobile phone?
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) created a mobile app to make it simple to access important information regarding your Medicare benefits.
You can access extensive coverage information, including what is covered with Parts A and B as well as cost information, from Medicare.gov while at your doctor’s office or hospital, or anywhere that you use your phone. Recent enhancements to the app include a Spanish version as well.
Paying Your Medicare Premiums
Making your premium payments for your Medicare benefits is imperative to maintaining your coverage. This includes your premiums for all parts of Medicare that you are currently enrolled in, as well as Medicare Supplement, when applicable.
Parts A and B Premiums
Most Medicare beneficiaries receive premium-free Part A, so there is no payment associated with this part of Medicare. If you are responsible for paying Part A, you will receive a bill for your payment in the mail.
To pay for your Medicare Parts A and B benefits, you have a number of options:
✓ You can pay for your premiums through your Social Security Check.
✓ You can use Medicare Easy Pay. By using this service, you will have your Part B Medicare expenses deducted directly from your checking account each month.
✓ You can pay via paper check. You will receive a quarterly bill and you will be responsible for mailing in your payment.
✓ You can pay using your credit card. Information on how to do this will be provided at the bottom of your paper bill.
Part C, Part D and Medicare Supplements Premiums
If you have elected to enroll in Part C (Medicare Advantage), Part D or a Medicare Supplement, you will establish payment with the insurance company associated with that plan. At the time of enrollment, you can establish your preferred method of payment, but will have the option to change should you prefer a different method in the future.
Contact your insurance provider to establish any of the following payment methods:
For Parts C and D:
✓ Pay via EFT/Automatic Debit from your checking/savings account
✓ Have premiums deducted from your Social Security check
✓ Pay via credit card
✓ Pay via check
For Medicare Supplement:
✓ Pay via EFT/Automatic Debit from your checking/savings account
✓ Pay via credit card
✓ Pay via check
An important note: When electing for Social Security payment, please anticipate a lag-time between requested change date and actual payment. Therefore, be prepared to make 1-2 months of payments until the designated plan processes your request and the change is made.
What if you miss a payment(s) or don’t pay on time?
Unfortunately, by missing payments or being late, you risk losing your Medicare benefits. You will be given a grace period associated with your payment method, so your coverage won’t be immediately terminated. However, you should take all precautions necessary to make sure you pay in full and on time to avoid any problems.
If you are using bank draft, credit card or paper check, make sure your accounts are able to handle a year’s worth of payments so you can avoid a situation where your payment is not made due to your transactions reaching their limit.
For your Part C, Part D and Supplement plans, we recommend that you check with your insurance providers to understand their payment policies and how you can best comply to avoid any missed or late payments.
Any cancellation actions will be sent to you via mail.
Have questions regarding your current benefits? We can help.
What if I realize I am in the wrong plan after enrollment?
If you feel like you have been misled or misguided into enrolling in a plan, or you realize that you didn’t fully understand your options, you can resolve this by contacting the plan you enrolled in. Explain your situation and they will guide you on the necessary steps that you need to take to resolve your situation.
Want to learn more about Medicare?
Join our licensed Medicare insurance agents online for any of our live, interactive Medicare educational webinars, where you can quickly and easily learn the fundamentals of Medicare and get your questions answered from the comfort of your own home.