| Mon, Oct 22, 2012 @ 09:00 AM

Making Sense of Your Medicare Summary Notice

Posted by Medicare Made Clear

describe the imageA Medicare Summary Notice (MSN) is a statement of medical services. You get it in the mail every three months if you have Original Medicare. It lists all the services you’ve received, along with dates and costs.

Medicare recently redesigned the MSN to make it easier to read and understand. The new MSN is available at mymedicare.gov now. You can view your MSNs there if you have a personal online account. Medicare will start mailing the new MSN in 2013.

Friendly Language and Large Type

The new design is good news for beneficiaries and caregivers. Many struggle to understand the MSN. The average person may not be able to interpret the complex medical terms, codes and abbreviations in it. Some simply ignore their statements altogether.

The new form uses friendly language and a number of aids to improve its usefulness. These include:

  • A snapshot of your deductible status
  • A list of providers seen along with the status of each claim
  • Clearer descriptions of medical procedures
  • Definitions of the terms used in the form
  • Large type for easier reading

Medicare changed the form based on input from focus groups. The groups included 163 older adults in 14 cities. They reviewed various drafts over a two-year period. Medicare reports that the new version won unanimous praise.

Finding Fraud

Medicare has good reason to give the form a makeover. Medicare fraud is a costly problem. Medicare billing mistakes or fraudulent charges can lead to Medicare paying more or the beneficiary paying more. So both parties have a stake in making sure MSNs are accurate.

Beneficiaries can be a big help in spotting questionable charges. Medicare hopes that the simpler form will make it easier to spot possible mistakes. The new form also includes directions for how to check for important facts and potential fraud.

For more information, contact the Medicare helpline 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), TTY 1-877-486-2048. If you have questions about Medicare Made Clear, call 1-877-619-5582, TTY 711, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. local time, seven days a week.


Medicare.gov: Visit the official U.S. government site for Medicare.

Medicare & You: Download Medicare’s guide for a summary of benefits, answers to frequently asked questions and more.

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