Medicare Update

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By Wally Pearce

Here is some pertinent information from Medicare that may be helpful. Medicare beneficiaries can elect to have their Medicare Part D premiums and Medicare Advantage premiums automatically deducted from their Social Security checks that the Social Security Administration then pays directly to the plans.

In the beginning of 2019 the Social Security Administration failed to properly withhold these premiums or make payments to the plans for thousands of Medicare beneficiaries. While the issue has been resolved, some beneficiaries continue to face the risk of coverage loss and confusion.

Who is Impacted?

This issue impacts beneficiaries who newly enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan or in a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan starting in January 2019 who requested that their premiums be automatically withheld. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) estimates that there are 250,000 individuals who may be impacted. Low-income beneficiaries who do not pay premiums are not impacted by this issue.

What is the Impact?

Impacted beneficiaries will receive a bill from their Part D or Medicare Advantage plan requesting payment for the unpaid premiums. Plans are required to provide the beneficiary with a grace period at least equal to the length of the delay in billing. See this CMS factsheet for additional information.

Medicare counselors can provide assistance with any questions or issues beneficiaries may experience. Beneficiaries can also call their plan directly or 1-800-MEDICARE.

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