The Indiana Association of Area Agencies on Aging wants older adults and persons with disabilities to be vigilant as they review their first Medicare Summary Notice (MSN) of the new year.

“The Medicare Summary Notice or MSN is not a bill and it comes out every 3months. It’s important to read over the MSN and check for abnormalities or inconsistencies,” said the Tamra Simpson, Indiana SMP Project Director.

“Second, it is important to read your MSN carefully to make sure that the services, medical equipment or supplies for which Medicare was billed were received. If you have any questions, or disagree with the claims decision which you can appeal, call 1-800-633-4227,” Simpson added.

The IAAAA urges older adults and persons with disabilities to protect themselves from Medicare errors, fraud and abuse by following these basic steps:

•Treat your Medicare and Social Security numbers like a credit card and never give the numbers to strangers;

•Create a record of your doctor visits tests and other medical information in a personal healthcare journal available by calling 1-800-986-3505;

•Compare your personal health care journal entries to your MSN and Part D paperwork for charges for something you did not receive, duplicate charges, and services that were not ordered by your doctor;

•Notice that your Medicare number is not fully printed on your MSN in the Customer Service Information area. You will only see XXX-XX-1234-A. This is a new measure to help prevent fraud;

•Remember, Medicare doesn’t call or visit to sell you anything;

•Save your MSN notices and Part D explanation of benefits and shred those documents when they are no longer useful, i.e. after the bill is paid;

•Report errors in your paperwork to Medicare by calling 1-800-633-4227 or if you need additional assistance call your local Area Agency on Aging at 1-800-986-3505. Your local Agency on Aging can also send you a Healthcare Journal or information on how to read your Medicare Summary Notice.

The Indiana Association of Area Agencies on Aging, founded in 1978, advocates for quality programs and services for older adults and all persons with disabilities. The IAAAA works with all of the 16 Area Agencies on Aging. The Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) were created by state statute in 1973 to deliver services under the Older Americans Act. AAAs are not-for-profit entities providing services to older adults and persons with disabilities of any age and their caregivers.

The SMP programs, formerly known as the Senior Medicare Patrol programs, recruit and teach senior volunteers and professionals such as doctors, nurses, accountants, investigators, law enforcement personnel, attorneys, teachers and others to help Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries become better health care consumers. For more information or if you suspect someone is trying to coerce or steal your information to contact your local Area Agency on Aging at 1-800-986-3505.

The National Consumer Protection Technical Resource Center provides key services to health care consumers and AoA’s 54 SMP programs and 15 SMP Integration projects located throughout the country including the District of Columbia, Guam, U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

The Waynedale News Staff
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