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

Making sense of it all with AARP’s decoder

Reviewing your quarterly Medicare Summary Notice (MSN) is important, but understanding it can be a challenge.

See also: Understanding your Medicare statement.

That's why AARP has created two easy-to-use MSN "decoders": one for Part A and the other for Part B. The text below is a printable version of what appears within the pop-up boxes of AARP's Part A Medicare Summary Notice Decoder.

1. Medicare Summary Notice

Medicare sends out statements like this example quarterly. If you don’t use any medical services in a particular three-month period, a statement won’t be sent. Your Medicare Summary Notice shows all services billed to your Medicare Part A account for inpatient care in hospitals, skilled nursing facility care, hospice care, and home health care services. If you want to know your MSN’s contents before it arrives by mail, call the Medicare help line at 800-633-4227 or set up a private online account at MyMedicare.gov where you can view your records at any time.

2. Name and Address

If the name or address listed here is not correct, visit your local Social Security Administration office or call 800-772-1213 (TTY 800-325-0778 for the deaf or hard of hearing), weekdays from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. You can also make the corrections online at SSA.gov.

3. This Is Not a Bill

Yes, that's right! Your Medicare Summary Notice is not a bill. It is a statement you should review for accuracy and keep for your personal records.

Very important: Never send payments to a health care facility or provider for charges listed on a Medicare Summary Notice until you've received a bill for the service directly from the facility. If you have already paid the facility, check to make sure that what you paid matches the amounts on your Medicare Summary Notice. If you paid more than needed, contact the facility's billing office to request a refund.

4. Your Medicare Number

This is the last four digits of your Medicare number. Protect it just as you would a credit card, bank account or Social Security number because, as you may have noticed, it is your Social Security number!

5. Date of This Notice

This is the date the notice was printed for mailing. Medicare Summary Notices are sent out four times a year — once a quarter — but you don’t necessarily have to wait for your notice to arrive in the mail. You can also check your account online at MyMedicare.gov. Claims typically appear on your electronic statement 24 hours after processing.

6. Claims Processed Between

This shows the dates of the three months in which claims were submitted on your Medicare account.

7. Did Medicare Approve All Claims?

“Yes” means that Medicare covers this type of health care service. If you see “No” in this space, contact the health care facility and ask for an itemized statement. Also see the section “How to Handle a Denied Claim” (described by item No. 26, below). For more about non-covered services, see the article "What Medicare Doesn't Cover."

8. Total You May Be Billed

This is the maximum amount the facility is able to bill you. It may include your Part A deductible, any coinsurance charges or any other expenses that Medicare does not cover. Compare your Medicare Summary Notice with the facility’s billing statement to make sure you are paying the correct amount. If you have already paid the facility, check to make sure that what you paid matches the amounts on your Medicare Summary Notice. If you paid more than needed, contact the facility's billing office to request a refund. Contact the facility if you spot errors in this section of your MSN. If you have a Medicare supplemental insurance policy (also called Medigap), Medicare will send this claim information directly to your insurance company. Your supplemental insurance may cover some or all of your out-of-pocket costs, depending on which policy you buy.

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