Ada-Icon
Required
Social Security Error and Medicare Coverage: This One’s Not a Scam

Social Security Error and Medicare Coverage: This One’s Not a Scam

A quarter of a million Medicare beneficiaries may be receiving bills for as many as five months of premiums they thought they had already paid. However, they shouldn’t toss the letter in the garbage. It’s not a scam or a mistake.

A “processing error” by the Social Security Administration has caused 250,000 benefit checks to be issued in January without deducting the proper Medicare premiums. The Social Security Administration did not pay the insurance plans, reports NPR in “Social Security Error Jeopardizes Medicare Coverage for 250,000 Seniors” The problem applies to private drug policies and Medicare Advantage plans that provide medical and drug coverage and are substitutes for traditional government-run Medicare.

Some people will need to find the money to pay the plans, while others may have their plans cancelled and need to fight to have them reinstated.

Both Medicare and Social Security expect proper deductions and payments to resume either this month or next. Insurers are required to send bills directly to members for unpaid premiums, says Medicare.

Neither Medicare nor Social Security would explain how or why the error occurred or provide the specific names of the plans that were shortchanged. They also didn’t give the amount that the plans were owed. There is a notice to Medicare’s beneficiaries on the website, but it is lacking in detail.  The House Ways and Means Chair, Rep. Neal, hasn’t received any response from either agency.

Organizations that represent seniors are getting some questions from their members. Two women in Louisiana lost drug coverage, after their policies were canceled as a direct result of the error. A woman in Ohio was reinstated in fewer than 48 hours, after the state’s insurance information program for seniors got involved.

Some people may not have noticed that their Social Security checks did not include a deduction for their Medicaid Advantage or drug plan premiums. They may have thought the extra amount was an expected cost-of-living increase. 

Medicare beneficiaries have had the option of paying premiums through a deduction from their Social Security benefit checks for more than a decade, or they can pay directly through a credit card or a checking account instead of from their Social Security benefits.

Insurance companies must allow members at least two months from the billing date to pay. They must also offer a payment plan for those who can’t pay several months of premiums at once.

The acting director for the Medicare Plan Payment Group warned companies that they must take these steps to avoid invoking their policy of disenrollment, if the member fails to pay premium while the member is adhering to the payment plan. The federal policy director of the Medicare Rights Center, an advocacy group, is concerned that older adults will view their bills with suspicion, which could lead to further problems.

Reference: NPR (June 6, 2019) “Social Security Error Jeopardizes Medicare Coverage for 250,000 Seniors”

Hear From Our Clients
tes-prev
tes-next

“On the threshold of retirement, we finally decided to quit thinking we could self-prepare the requisite documents. We had previously had only a very simple will. We needed the necessary legal (including updated will) & health care docs but didn’t want to deal with the time & complication of legalese. Cindy made the process relatively painless. She took the time to explain and answer questions without trying to upsell services. We were done in 2 meetings plus the reading of emailed drafts. In addition to preparing the documents, Nelson Eldercare will be there when our adult children need advice on executing the plans we’ve put in place.So glad it’s behind us and would recommend Cindy and her helpful staff.”

- Bonnie

Cindy and her company treat their clients like family. Nelson’s offers clear, direct, and honest guidance in planning for your families security and future. No one wants to actively sit down and make these decisions, but Nelson’s makes this process seamless. I was so impressed with their willingness to answer all questions big or small. So glad I made the decision have them help my mom and dad and now me. You can’t go wrong with Nelson’s Elder Care Law.

- Hope

The very best elder law attorney and staff anyone could ever ask for! I have referred a number of clients to Cindy and she never disappoints. She is kind, caring, and extremely thorough in making sure everything is completed as it should be. I highly recommend Cindy for anyone needing lawyer services; she truly goes above and beyond for every client she helps and has had a huge impact in so many peoples’ lives. Thank you, Cindy and staff, for everything that you do- I’m so glad to know you!

- Kerri

I heard Cindy’s presentation at a Senior Luncheon at my church, and was very impressed. She helped my daughter and me understand many aspects of elder law. Josh has also been very helpful in my planning to enter an independent living situation . I have told many friends about them.

- Charlotte

Cindy and the Nelson Elder Care Law team are trustworthy and helpful. They are the experts in elder care law. At Leaf Cremation, we entrust our families to the care of the Nelson team when their services are needed.

- Pierce