What Is a Medicare Notice?

Health, Home & Family
on October 18, 2011

If you're enrolled in Medicare and get a service covered by the program, you'll receive a Medicare Summary Notice (MSN) in the mail every three months. The MSN is a statement that documents all Medicare-related services that have occurred during that time period. Here are some tips to keep in mind when reading an MSN.

Other sources. Medical care may be covered by different sources, such as private insurance. This means you'll need to keep track of what services are actually being billed to Medicare so that there is no confusion when those services do not appear on the MSN. The MSN isn't necessarily meant to be a comprehensive statement that deals with all types of coverage. You may need to track other paperwork from a variety of institutions.

The key information. When you open an MSN, you may be most interested in finding out about any out-of-pocket expenses. As noted at Medicare.gov, the official U.S. government website for Medicare, this amount is noted in the “You May Be Billed” column of medical claims. However, this is not a guarantee of required payment, and the MSN is not intended to be a bill. This section simply notes any amount that Medicare may not cover. If you discover any discrepancies, you may need to call your health care provider, insurance company or other sources to resolve the issue.

Current information. While the MSN is sent out every three months, consumers can track claims or view up-to-date statements online at MyMedicare.gov. Claims generally are available one day after processing. Managing health care information online may be an intimidating process for seniors who are not necessarily tech savvy. However, this may become an increasingly common way for consumers to manage medical bills, track coverage and verify that claims are paid.