Medicare Basics

Here are some frequently asked questions and answers. When you are ready to learn more, check out Medicare In-Depth.

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Medicare Basics FAQ’s

What is the Part B Buy-In Program?

All states have a Part B Buy-in, which is a process that can help you enroll in Part B outside regular enrollment periods.Normally, you must wait until the General Enrollment Period (GEP) to sign up for Part B if you did not enroll in Part B when first...

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What is the Part A Buy-In Program?

The Part A Buy-in is a process available in certain states if you are ineligible to receive premium-free Part A. The Part A Buy-in process allows qualifying individuals who delayed Part A enrollment to get Part A outside the GEP. Through the Part A Buy-in,...

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What is QMB Improper Billing?

In Medicare, the term improper billing refers to a provider inappropriately billing a beneficiary for Medicare cost-sharing. Cost-sharing can include deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments. Federal law prohibits providers from billing people enrolled in...

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What are Other Benefits of MSP Enrollment?

One benefit of enrolling in an MSP is that it will allow you to enroll in Part B outside of the regular enrollment periods. This is important because you usually must wait for the General Enrollment Period (GEP) to sign up for Medicare if you do not sign...

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Nursing Home Rights

When you enter a nursing home, you have specific rights that protect your dignity and self-determination while you are a resident. These rights should be posted in a prominent place in the facility. The Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987 specifically says...

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Medicare and Second Opinions

A second opinion is when you ask a doctor other than your regular doctor for their view on symptoms, an injury, or an illness you are experiencing in order to better help you make an informed decision about treatment options.Medicare covers second opinions...

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Tips for Helping Ensure Quality Care

There are steps you can take to help ensure you get quality care from your health care providers. For instance, you can ask questions, do your own research, get second opinions, and keep in mind that you have the right to accept or refuse treatment. Below...

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Tips for Communicating with Insurance Companies

When speaking to your insurance company/plan, you may find that you do not have all the documents you need in front of you, or that you need to call back to get more information. Here are three tips to help you communicate effectively with your insurance...

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Tips for Communicating with Healthcare Providers

Communication is key in building good relationships with your health care providers and getting the best possible care. Here are five tips to help you communicate effectively with your doctors and other providers.Be prepared.Before making an appointment,...

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Tips for Finding a Doctor

Once you know what you want from a primary care provider (PCP) or specialist, you may want a list of providers in your area from which to choose. You may ask for referrals from friends, relatives, coworkers, and/or neighbors. You can also check with your...

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What to Look for in a Doctor?

There are two main types of doctors: primary care providers (PCPs) and specialists. PCPs provide your regular check-ups and are often who to visit first when you become concerned about a symptom or problem. Specialists handle particular issues that require...

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Power of Attorney

A power of attorney is a document—typically prepared by a lawyer—that names someone you trust as your agent to make property, financial, and other legal decisions on your behalf. Rules about powers of attorney—including limitations on what an agent can and...

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Living Wills

A living will is a written record of the type of medical care you would want in specific circumstances. It can be used to make treatment decisions if you can no longer communicate your wishes because you are incapacitated by a temporary or permanent injury...

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Health Care Proxies

A health care proxy is a document that names someone you trust as your proxy, or agent, to express your wishes and make health care decisions for you if you are unable to speak for yourself. A health care proxy may also be called a durable medical power of...

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The Importance of Putting Future Care Wishes in Writing

Each state has different rules regarding who becomes the default decision-maker if you do not have a health care proxy or some other means of expressing your treatment wishes. If you become unable to make medical decisions because you are incapacitated by...

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