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Does Medicare Cover Funeral Expenses


Unfortunately, that answer is no. Medicare covers medical expenses, but death isn’t a qualifying event. You may spend years planning retirement fun, but nobody rushes to plan their funeral. Yet, the cost of a funeral falls between $7,000 and $10,000 on average. In the sections below, we go over funeral coverage and opportunities for Medicare funeral assistance.

Is There a Death Benefit from Medicare?

Currently, there isn’t a Medicare death benefit. But, Social Security does pay survivor benefits. The Social Security administration will give a one-time $255 payment to a spouse or child.

Now, the portion of long-term benefits that a surviving spouse or children will get depends on the amount the deceased paid into Social Security. Further, the benefit amount depends on the survivor’s age and Social Security eligibility.

Do You Have to Notify Medicare of a Death?

It’s necessary to report the death of a beneficiary to Medicare. Otherwise, they might continue to bill the deceased for their Part B premiums.

Additionally, alerting Medicare about a person’s passing reduces the risk of fraud. Thus, it’s best to do this as soon as possible.

How Do I Notify Medicare of a Death?

To report the death of a Medicare beneficiary, you would contact Social Security. If the beneficiary was collecting Railroad Retirement Benefits, you’ll need to report their death to the Railroad Retirement Board. Once Social Security has processed the death of the beneficiary, any private insurers will be notified by CMS.

How Do You Cancel Medicare When Someone Dies?

Because Medicare and Social Security are connected, both government programs can be alerted with a single call to the Social Security Administration. A representative at the funeral home may also be able to handle this process for you. Whoever calls will need to know the deceased’s Social Security Number to make the request.

How to Cancel Supplemental Medicare Insurance When There is a Death

Often, recipients also have additional coverage, such as an Advantage plan, Medicare Supplement, or Part D prescription drug coverage. Alerting Social Security about the passing doesn’t cancel any of the above. It only takes care of Original Medicare.

You’ll need to contact each carrier to notify them, which may require proof and paperwork. You can find the information you need to reach each plan provider on the deceased’s insurance cards.

If you’re unsure of which coverage they had, you can check their bank statements for recurring payments of monthly premiums to look for the carrier names. If you and the deceased didn’t share a home, you could also have their mail forwarded to your address.

Setting Up Final Arrangements

Having an estate plan will prepare you to leave a legacy for your loved ones. Things you should think about include a will, beneficiaries for your assets, life insurance, Durable Power of Attorney, and advanced medical directives. Of course, life happens and things change, you can reassess your plan to suit you as needed.

State Help with Funeral Costs

Every state has a specific budget and rules for funeral assistance. Although, you can always contact that state department of health or the county coroner for help. The Department of Health and Human Services may provide burial for poverty-stricken people. You’ll apply for help at the health department in the county where the deceased resided.

Some states don’t provide funeral assistance. But, there may be county or city assistance. Funeral help varies across the nation. Yet, one thing is clear, no matter which state you live in, burial policies give your family peace of mind during a time of grief.

FAQs

Does Medicare Cover Cremation?
No, Medicare doesn’t consider funerals or cremation a medical expense. Therefore, coverage isn’t available.
Are Funeral Expenses Tax-Deductible?
Beneficiaries that own estates may qualify for tax deductions. Burial and memorial services directly related to funeral ceremonies may be tax-deductible, although services must be reasonable. Save all receipts and review your costs with an expert. Working with a tax specialist helps ensure you get back the most money on your tax return.
Do you need Final Expense Insurance?
If you don’t have final expense savings, an insurance policy could make sense. Each person is different; if you’ve saved enough to cover all the costs, final expense insurance isn’t necessary. It’s best to review your plan and consider a burial policy if you think your savings may fall short.
Can I report a death to Medicare online?
No, you need to contact the Social Security Administration via telephone or in-person.
Does Social Security report a death to Medicare?
Since Medicare and Social Security are connected, alerting the former about death allows for the cancellation of both benefits.
Do I need to report a death to the Medicare Supplement company?
If your loved one had Medigap, Advantage, Part D, or other additional coverage, reporting the death to Social Security won’t cancel this other insurance. You’ll need to contact the carrier(s) individually to alert them of the passing, for which you may need to submit proof such as a death certificate or obituary.
Is there a way to receive a Medicare premium refund after death?
If the deceased is due a premium refund from Medicare at their time of death, a representative may fill out Form SSA-1724. SSA will issue the premium refund to the payor of the premiums or, if the deceased paid, surviving spouse or child.

Learn More About Your Medicare Options

Our agents specialize in Medicare. If you want to compare your current coverage to the other plan options available, give us a call at the number above. If calling us isn’t an option right now, fill out our online rate form to see your supplemental Medicare options now.

Lindsay Malzone

Lindsay Malzone is the Medicare expert for MedicareFAQ. She has been working in the Medicare industry since 2017. She is featured in many publications as well as writes regularly for other expert columns regarding Medicare. You can also find her over on our Medicare Channel on YouTube as well as contributing to our Medicare Community on Facebook.

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