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How to Read Your Part B Medicare Summary Notice (full text)

AARP's "decoder" shows you what you need to know

17. Amount Medicare Paid: This is the amount Medicare paid to your doctor. In general, this amount is 80 percent of the Medicare-approved amount.

18. Maximum You May Be Billed: This is the maximum amount your doctor can bill you. It may include your deductible ($140 in 2012), your 20 percent coinsurance charges or other charges that Medicare does not cover. Compare your Medicare Summary Notice with the doctor’s billing statement to make sure you are paying the correct amount. Contact your doctor if you spot errors in this section of your MSN.

19. See Notes Below: This column directs you to additional information about your claims. If there’s a letter in this column, refer to the Notes for Claim Above (described by item No. 21).

20. Claim Number: Each claim, such as for a doctor visit, made to your Medicare Part B account is assigned a distinct number. Refer to this claim number when talking with your provider or Medicare.

21. Notes for Claim Above: Medicare uses this area to give you extra information about the claims listed in your Medicare Summary Notice.

If you have a Medicare supplemental insurance policy (also called medigap), Medicare will send this claim information to your insurance company. Your supplemental insurance may cover some or all of the costs not paid by Medicare.

22. How to Report Fraud: This section gives tips on how to protect against Medicare fraud. For more information, visit

23. How to Handle a Denied Claim or File an Appeal: Follow the steps in this section if Medicare denies payment for a claim you think should have been paid. Print a copy of your online MSN, which includes this appeal page, or use the form you get in the mail with your paper MSN.  

Complete the form by hand. Be sure to make a copy of everything you send to Medicare.

For more information about appealing a denial and deadlines for filing, see the article "Appealing a Medicare Claim Decision."

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