Medicare has been improving its paperless billing options, and you can now choose to receive Medicare Summary Notices and the “Medicare & You” handbook electronically.
If you pay your own Medicare Part B premiums because you aren’t yet on Social Security, you can arrange automatic payments.
Paperless options for Medicare Advantage, Medicare Part D prescription plans, and Medigap plans vary depending on which insurance company issues the policy.
Paperless Billing Options with Original Medicare
Medicare traditionally sends its handbooks and notices through the mail. If you’re happy with that, you can continue to receive Medicare materials the same way you always have. But if you prefer a paperless option, Medicare offers a variety of online resources to help you understand Medicare and keep track of your claims.
To access Medicare online, sign up for a free account at MyMedicare. Once you’ve set up your account, there are three major resources you can take advantage of.
Electronic Medicare Summary Notices (eMSN’s)
Instead of receiving notices in the mail every three months, you can opt for a monthly email with a secure link to your eMSN. The monthly eMSN makes it easier to track claims, deductibles, and costs. Because it comes out more frequently than the paper statement, the eMSN helps you catch billing mistakes quickly and prevent fraud.
The Online Medicare & You handbook
The Medicare & You handbook is a thick volume that arrives in your mailbox once a year. But with MyMedicare you can now choose to receive the electronic version of the handbook instead.
The electronic version has a few advantages over the paper one:
- It’s less bulky to store.
- Information is more current because it is updated throughout the year. The paper version is only updated once a year.
- You can access the electronic version on a mobile device wherever you are.
Medicare publications are also available as eBooks that you can read on your Kindle, phone or other e-readers. Even out-of-print publications are sometimes available as ebooks. Medicare eBooks make paperless billing possible.
Automatic Payments for Medicare
Medicare charges a monthly premium for its Part B medical coverage. In addition, if your income is more than a certain amount and you have a prescription drug plan, you may pay a Part D income-related monthly adjustment amount (Part D-IRMAA).
People who don’t sign up for Medicare when they are first eligible may pay late enrollment penalties.
If you receive Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board benefits, these premiums, adjustments, and penalties are automatically deducted from your Social Security check every month – there is no other option.
Those receiving Social Security or Railroad Retirement benefits get a billing statement in the mail every month. You can’t currently opt-out of these paper statements.
There are two ways to automate your premium payments:
- Medicare Easy Pay. This free service will automatically deduct your premium from your checking or savings account each month. To set it up, you must mail an authorization form to Medicare. Processing your form can take six to eight weeks.
- Through your bank. Use your bank’s online bill payment service to have your premium paid automatically on the date you choose.
Automatic payments are optional — you can still pay your Medicare premiums by mailing in a check, money order or credit card information.
Paperless Billing for Medigap, Part D, and Medicare Advantage
Medicare Supplements, Part D prescription plans, and Advantage plans are offered through private insurance companies rather than the federal government. Each insurance company has its own system for automatic payments and electronic access to benefit statements and information about plan rules and benefits.
In many cases, you can have your other Medicare premiums deducted automatically from your Social Security payment.
Other paperless options may include:
- Paperless billing and automatic deductions through your insurance carrier
- Electronic premium payments through your bank
- Online access to benefit statements and information about claims and deductibles
- Online access to information about your plan and wellness information
There are more paperless options for managing your Medicare benefits than ever before. When setting up paperless billing and automatic payments; be aware that it may be a couple of months before the automatic deductions start.