If you changed Medicare plans this year and received a letter from Social Security saying they will no longer deduct your Medicare prescription drug plan premiums from your monthly benefit, then this blog is for you.
So, What’s going on?
It’s January and if you changed your Medicare Part D prescription drug plan or your Medicare Advantage plan during open enrollment then you may have received a bill from the insurance company instead of having the monthly premium deducted automatically from your monthly Social Security check as it had been in the past.
What do you have to do?
When you changed your Medicare Part D prescription drug plan or changed your Medicare Advantage (Part C) plan you may have chosen to have the monthly premiums automatically deducted from your Social Security check.
But now you have received a letter from Social Security saying: “We will no longer deduct money for your Medicare prescription drug plan costs from your monthly benefits.”
This letter also says, “If you have any questions about your Medicare prescription drug plan costs, please contact your Medicare prescription drug plan.”
You should do just that!
Call the insurance company’s Member Services phone number (usually found on the back of your new insurance card) and they will instruct you to either pay your monthly premium by sending in a check (possibly with a coupon book) or set up automatic electronic funds transfer from your bank account (or a debit card).
This is because your new Medicare plan may not have had time to organize the automatic Social Security deductions and so you will be asked to use another form of premium payment.
But don’t worry. You can have it deducted from your Social Security payment. All you have to do is ask them to start having your monthly premiums deducted automatically from your Social Security check.
Please note: It can take up to three months to coordinate these automatic deductions with Social Security so you will need to continue paying your monthly premiums until then to avoid any lapses in coverage.
Want to know more?
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has published a guide entitled, “Withholding Medicare Prescription Drug Premium from Your 2018 Social Security Payment” that outlines why some people are being denied automatic Social Security check deductions as their chosen form of premium payment.
This Medicare guide says that if you changed your Medicare Advantage (Part C) or Medicare Prescription Drug (Part D) plans, “depending on when you made your enrollment decision, you may be asked to pay your new plan directly for a while. If that happens, you’ll get a bill or payment book from your new drug plan telling you the amount you owe. Your new plan will expect you to pay premiums directly until premium withhold is started with your new plan. You may need to contact the plan to let them know you still want to have premium withholding.”
They continues with the example: “You enrolled at the end of Open Enrollment and chose to have your premiums withheld from your Social Security payment. However, you just got a payment book from your drug plan saying you owe $36.50 each month, starting in January 2018.
You call the plan, and the plan says that it didn’t get your request for enrollment in time to arrange for your January premium to be withheld. The plan says it will request to have the premiums withheld from your Social Security payment starting in February. You’ll need to send your premium payment for January directly to your plan.”
So some Medicare plans may not allow Social Security check premium deduction at the start of this year, even though this was chosen by you as the payment method on your application.
Instead, you will be told to either send the first premium payment by check or submit the Electronic Funds Transfer request. When you call the Medicare plan Member Services representatives they will send you the forms necessary to request the Social Security payment option – as per the new rule.
If you live in Maine or New Hampshire and would like more answers or if you’re looking for help choosing a Medicare plan or just have some questions, I would be more than happy to help you.
Please note: We are only able to give general information about Medicare related issues. If you have questions about your Social Security Benefit, please contact your the Social Security Administration directly.
Still have questions or want help comparing Medicare Supplement plans? I can help you!
Just give me a call at your convenience. My cell number is(207) 370-0143
or call toll free 866-976-9038. Or send me an email using this online form;
The best part about working with me is that it will not cost you anything to talk with me to discuss your options and review the plans that are available. I am paid by the insurance companies in the form of a commission when you enroll in a plan. You will not pay any more than anyone else and you are under no obligation whatsoever to enroll in any plans if you talk with me.
“My goal is to help people and I have found great joy in being able to offer my services to people who need my help.”