If you’re among the 7 million Americans enrolled in the Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB) Program, providers aren’t allowed to bill you for medical services and items that Medicare covers. This means you can’t be billed for Medicare deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments.
Here are 3 tips if you get a bill for these charges:
- Tell the provider or debt collector that you have QMB and can’t be charged for Medicare deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments. Show your provider your Medicaid or QMB card every time you get medical services or items. If you already made payments on a bill for services and items Medicare covers, you have the right to a refund.
- If the medical provider won’t stop billing you, call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). TTY users can call 1-877-486-2048. The agent can confirm that you have QMB. Medicare can also ask the provider to stop improper billing, and refund any incorrect payments you made.
- If you have a problem with debt collection, you can send a complaint to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) online or call the CFPB toll-free at (855) 411-2372. TTY users can call (855) 729-2372. CFPB will forward your complaint to the company and work to get you a response from them. Find out about your rights when responding to a debt collector or learn how to dispute an error on your credit report.
Remember, being in QMB means that you don’t pay Medicare deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments. If a provider asks you to pay, that’s illegal. We’re here to help.
Are you at a high risk of getting glaucoma? Glaucoma is an eye disease that causes loss of vision—usually side vision—by damaging the optic nerve, which sends information from your eyes to your brain.
Fortunately, you can help prevent vision loss by finding and treating problems early—and Medicare can help. We cover a glaucoma screening once every 12 months for people at high risk for glaucoma. You’re considered at high risk if you answer “yes” to one or more of these questions:
- Do you have diabetes or a family history of glaucoma?
- Are you African American and 50 or older?
- Are you Hispanic American and 65 or older?
January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month—the perfect time to check on your eye health.
Watch our glaucoma awareness video to learn more.
About 12,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with cervical cancer every year. All women are at risk, but it occurs most often in women over 30. Fortunately, it’s one of the easiest female cancers to prevent. There are 2 screening tests to find cervical cancer early.
Medicare covers the HPV test and Pap tests every 24 months for all women and every 12 months if you’re at high risk. The CDC recommends getting regular pap tests starting at 21.
January is Cervical Health Awareness Month. Watch our Cervical Health Awareness Month video and visit our cervical & vaginal cancer screenings page to learn more about these tests.
Flu season is back, which means it’s time to protect yourself and loved ones by getting a free flu shot.
Flu viruses change from year to year, so it’s important to get a flu shot each flu season. It’s free for people with Medicare, once per flu season when you get it by doctors or other health care providers (like senior centers and pharmacies) that take Medicare.
National Influenza Vaccination Week is December 4–10. You can stop the flu before it stops you.
Did you know that 50,000 people in the U.S. get HIV each year? Of the 1.2 million people currently living with HIV in the U.S., 1 in 8 don’t even know they have it. Medicare covers HIV screening for people with Medicare 15-65 years old who ask for the test and pregnant women.
HIV is the virus that can lead to Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, or AIDS. Early testing and diagnosis play key roles in reducing the spread of the disease, extending life expectancy, and cutting costs of care. At least 1 in 3 people in the U.S. who test positive for HIV is tested too late to get the full advantage of treatment. However, thanks to better treatments, many people with HIV and AIDS in the U.S. are living longer. Testing is an important first step in getting HIV-infected people the medical care and support they need to improve their health and help them maintain safer behaviors.
Visit CDC.gov to learn more about their Act Against AIDS campaign. To find an HIV test site, visit Gettested.cdc.gov, or text your zip code to “KNOWIT” (566948).
December 1 is World AIDS Day, and with leadership and commitment, we can make an impact. Wear your red ribbon to show your support.
Are you caring for an aged, seriously ill or disabled family member? If so, you’re one of about 44 million Americans who care for loved ones with a chronic illness, disability, or frailty. Family caregivers provide an average of 20 hours of care per week – when you’re the caregiver, that can make it hard for you to care for yourself.
If you’re caring for someone, here are a few things you can do:
- Make sure your loved one’s Medicare coverage still meets their needs. Medicare Open Enrollment is from now until December 7, and it’s important to take a few minutes to review coverage and pick a plan that works for your loved one.
- Find resources near you by visiting the Eldercare Locator.
- Make sure your loved one gets their flu shot. It’s free for people with Medicare, once per flu season when it’s given by doctors or other health care providers that take Medicare.
Remember to take time to get the care you need for yourself. If you or someone you’re caring for is uninsured, learn more about the Health Insurance Marketplace.
“To do” lists are very helpful during this hectic time of year. If something important isn’t written down, it’s easy to forget. If you still haven’t crossed off “Compare Medicare coverage” from your “to do” list, time is running out!
Medicare Open Enrollment ends next week on December 7. To help you sort through your choices, try using the Medicare Plan Finder. You can review the plan options in your area and decide the best mix of benefits and costs that meets your needs and budget.
In these last few days of Medicare Open Enrollment, take a second to review your health care coverage and see if you need to make any changes for next year. If you decide you’re happy with the plan you have now, and the plan’s still being offered next year, you don’t need to do anything. But if you’re thinking about making any changes, now’s the time to act so you can cross another item off your “to do” list.