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Understanding Your Medicare Statement

Use your quarterly Medicare Summary Notice to keep track of the care you receive — and to help fight fraud

If you are covered by Medicare, health care providers and hospitals send their bills for your care directly to Medicare.

A Medicare Summary Notice (MSN) is the statement that shows all the services or supplies billed to Medicare on your account, how much of the bill Medicare paid and how much you still owe the provider or supplier.

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Your MSN is not a bill, but you should carefully review it all the same. Your MSN can help you keep track of the care you have received and monitor your out-of-pocket costs. It can also help you spot errors — and even instances of outright fraud — on your Medicare account.

But reviewing an MSN is easier said than done. To help you, AARP has created easy-to-use "decoders" for your Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B MSNs. These decoders provide a guided tour — and translation — of your Medicare statements.

Keep the following in mind:

  • A Medicare Summary Notice is not a bill. You do not need to send anyone a payment when you receive an MSN.

  • You should compare the information on your MSN with bills, statements and receipts from your health care providers and suppliers. Do the dates, billing codes and the descriptions of services you received match? In some instances, your MSN may include valid charges for services or supplies you weren't aware of having received — such as for medical consultations or tests. But, as a general rule, the dates and codes should match. If you don't see codes on your provider's paperwork, ask for copies that include them.

Next: Handling charges for services you didn't receive. »

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