How to Track the Part B Deductible – The Medicare Part B deductible is an annual medical deductible. Everyone with Original Medicare is responsible for the Part B deductible.
However, Medigap Plan G and Plan N require you to pay the deductible out of your pocket. And, most Medicare beneficiaries meet the Part B deductible over one or two doctor visits. But do you know how to track the Part B deductible, so you don’t accidentally overpay?
How to Track the Part B Deductible for Plan G and Plan N
Please don’t rely on your Medicare provider to tell you when you’ve met the Part B deductible. Otherwise, you may get overcharged and find yourself trying to get your money back.
This is especially important if you have Medicare Supplement Plan G or Medicare Supplement Plan N…because you’ll receive bills from medical providers. And, you want to make sure you only pay the amount you’re responsible for.
Once you overpay, then you have to try and get your money back from the provider. Which can lead to stress and time wasted.
Record Medicare Part B Deductible Payments
I know this seems obvious, but sometimes we get busy and forget to document important information. This leads to rummaging through cleared checks, scanning bank statements, or looking through check registers to find payments to providers.
So, here are a few ideas on how to track the Part B Deductible:
Keep a folder or notebook dedicated to Medicare and write down exactly what you’ve paid. This includes the provider name, date of service, check number, or date you paid online. I really like the ideas of documenting this information on the actual bill and storing it in a file.
However, if you don’t like the idea of keeping track on paper, then use an electronic device. Create a Medicare spreadsheet on the computer using Excel, Google Sheets, Numbers, etc. The categories are limitless in what you can track. Some examples are provider name, date of service, procedure, amount paid, and check number.
One of my tech savvy clients suggested using an app on your phone. He records the payment information on the bill and then snaps a picture of it and sends it to his phone app. Very clever! Some apps to consider are Evernote, One Note, or Google Keep.
But, if that’s not your cup of tea…then use your paper calendar to track the Medicare Part B Deductible. Simply, mark on the calendar the day you paid the Medicare provider and how much you paid. Then, you can use this information to cross reference with the next tip.
Track your Medicare Claim Information Online
The MyMedicare.gov account is a great resource for viewing up to date claims. However, it’s best used for cross referencing, and not as your sole resource for tracking the Part B deductible.
And, that’s because your online Medicare account tells you when you’ve met the Part B deductible, but it doesn’t keep track of what you’ve actually paid out of your pocket towards the Medicare deductible.
So, you need to look at actual claims and cross reference them with what you’ve paid. Then, see if it matches up with what Medicare says you are responsible for paying. If this seems cumbersome, watch my Part B Video. I actually show you how to use your Medicare account for this purpose.
So, why is it important to cross reference your Medicare claims?
Because you may get a bill from a provider when you’ve already met the Medicare Part B deductible. I had a client who received a bill and over paid it, because the provider included the amount he owed for the Part B deductible and the co-insurance. Thankfully, it wasn’t much, but these mistakes take place.
Case Studies: How to Track Medicare’s Part B Deductible
Now, this occurred in 2016 when the Part B deductible was $166. So, keep that in mind as we go through this case study. When the client received this bill he had already paid $63 towards the Part B deductible.
His provider mailed him a bill for $106.37. However, the client was only responsible for $103. When you add $103 to the $63 he already paid…it totals $166…which means he met the Part B deductible. And, the remaining $3.37 is covered by his Medigap Plan G.
However, he paid the full $106.37. This happens because many people worry about not being in good standing if the bill isn’t paid timely, But, here’s the thing. The amount of $3.37 was paid by the Medigap insurance company, so the doctor over billed the patient. So. the patient had to contact the Medicare provider to get his money back.
Again, this isn’t a huge overcharge, but you get the idea of how important it is to keep track of what you pay towards the deductible.
If you have Medigap Plan N, you must remember that the co-payment doesn’t count towards the Part B deductible.
Which is a good reminder to be aware of how much you pay at your visit. Another client was charged $100, by his Cardiologist, just to walk in the door.
The Cardiologist told him it was for his deductible. Nope…that’s not how it works. The provider needs to send your claim to Medicare, and then send you a bill (if you haven’t met the deductible).
After he paid the Cardiologist $100, he received a bill from his Dermatologist in the amount of $185 for the Part B deductible. The Dermatologist submitted the claim correctly. This is the bill he needed to pay. However, he already paid the Cardiologist $100. But, Medicare didn’t have record of that $100. Therefore, it wasn’t applied towards the Part B deductible. So, my client had to go to the Cardiologist’s office and get his money back.
Don’t rely on your Medicare Summary Notice
Most insurance companies will mail an Explanation of Benefits after each claim is submitted, But, this isn’t the case with Medicare.
CMS mails your Medicare Summary Notice once a quarter. And, it doesn’t provide important details about the Part B deductible. It will simply indicate if you’ve met the deductible. Which means you still need to make sure that you actually paid Medicare’s Part B deductible.
Now, it’s entirely possible to use the Medicare Summary Notice to help track the Part B deductible. You just have to cross reference it with payment information you have on file. The point is to make sure you don’t pay more than the Part B deductible for that specific calendar year.
Documentation and cross referencing are the key to knowing how to track the Part B deductible. So, as soon as you start your Medigap plan, and at the beginning of each year, get your techniques in place so you don’t accidentally overpay.
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