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What is Medicare Assignment & What Doctors Accept It


Once you have Original Medicare, ask your doctor if they accept Medicare assignment before receiving services. With over 800,000 doctors taking Medicare, you have the largest provider network. Whether you want to see the best doctor in New York or Dr. Smith down the road chances are they’re in-network. 

Billing Arrangement Options for Providers Who Accept Medicare

Medicare assignment is a fee schedule agreement between Medicare and a doctor. Accepting assignment means your doctor agrees to the payment terms of Medicare. Doctors who accept Medicare are either a participating doctor, non-participating doctor, or they opt-out. When it comes to Medicare’s network, it’s defined in one of three ways.

  1. Participating Provider: Providers that accept Medicare Assignment agree to accept what Medicare establishes per procedure, or visit, as payment in full.
  2. Non-Participating Provider: Providers in this category do accept Medicare, but do not accept the amount Medicare says a procedure or visit should cost. These providers reserve the right to charge an excess charge of up to 15% more than the Medicare-approved amount.
  3. Opt-Out Providers: There is a very small percentage of providers that do not accept Medicare, less than 3%.

What is Medicare Assignment of Benefits?

The assignment of benefits is when the insured authorizes Medicare to reimburse the provider directly. In return, the provider agrees to accept the Medicare charge as the full charge for services. Non-participating providers can accept assignments on an individual claims basis. On item 27 of the CMS-1500 claim form non participating doctors need to check “yes” when they agree to accept Medicare assignment for the full charge on the claim.

What Doctors Accept Medicare Assignment?

Before you assume that every doctor accepts assignment, you should know that not all of them agree to the terms. When it comes to Medicare assignments, doctors can choose to opt-out or not participate. Doctors that accept Medicare will accept Medigap coverage. Not all doctors that accept Medicare will accept a Medicare Advantage plan.

Doctors Near Me That Accept Medicare

You can easily compare doctors now with the Care Compare Tool. The tool allows you to personalize results for doctors and hospitals in your area. Also, the tool is available on smartphones and tablets. The Care Compare Tool can give you things like contact information, quality ratings, and directions to healthcare facilities. Further, this tool can give you information on nursing homes, hospice, dialysis centers, rehab care, and Long-Term care facilities.

Do All Doctor Accept Medicare Supplement Plans?

Having a Medicare Supplement plan gives you access to every doctor in America that accepts Medicare. You may occasionally get someone behind the desk that tries to tell you they don’t take your plan; however, this is because they have network lists regarding Medicare Advantage Plans. Simply ask if they accept Medicare and if they do they must accept the supplement plan.

Do Most Doctors Accept Medicare Advantage?

Unlike a Medicare Supplement, a Medicare Advantage Plan replaces your Original Medicare. Your health coverage is the insurance company and you don’t have the freedom to simply go to any doctor. Advantage plans are subject to plan networks and rules for services. In most cases, if you go to a doctor that takes Medicare but doesn’t take your Medicare Advantage Plan you must pay 100% out of pocket. Some Medicare Advantage Plans do have Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) allowing you to go out of network; but, you’ll pay a much higher rate.

Does Having Medicaid Impact Your Doctor Network?

This can be a more complicated situation. If you’re on Medicare and Medicaid you can always go to any doctor that accepts Original Medicare. The best practice when dealing with Medicare and Medicaid is to make sure the provider takes both Medicare and Medicaid. This way the Medicaid plan will pay your portion of the bill.

What are Medicare Assignment Codes?

This code shows that Medicare has agreed to be to represent you and cover your medical bills. This allows for easy communication between health providers and Medicare when taking care of your medical needs.

What is Medicare Assignment for Part B?

Medicare Assignment Part B determines if the doctor accepts Medicare for outpatient services. The providers participating type will determine how much you pay for Part B services. For example, fully participating doctors accept Medicare rates for services; this means you only pay 20% of the bill with Original Medicare. However, if a provider is not participating, you could be responsible for an excess charge of 15% Some providers refuse to accept Medicare payment altogether; if this is the situation, you’re responsible for 100% of the costs.

What Happens if a Doctor Doesn’t Accept Medicare Assignment?

Not all doctors accept assignment, this means you pay for services out of pocket. You could pay 100% out of pocket, then wait for Medicare reimbursement. Please keep in mind, there’s no reimbursement guarantee. Then there are doctors who opt out of Medicare charges. This means you pay 100%. Unlike doctors that accept assignment, these doctors don’t set their fees to Medicare standards. This is why you should always confirm first whether your doctor accepts the assignment or not.

After you receive services from a doctor who doesn’t accept the assignment but is still part of the Medicare program, you can receive reimbursement. You must file a claim to Medicare asking for reimbursement.

You should fill the CMS-1490S form to ask for payment. The service provider will likely process the claim. They deal with Medicare so that you get a reimbursement; but if they don’t, then you can.

What is a Medicare Opt-Out Private Contract?

Sometimes your doctor may ask you to sign a private contract. This usually happens with doctors who do not have an agreement with Medicare. A Medicare private contract is for doctors that opt-out of Medicare payment terms. Once you sign a contract, it means that you accept the full amount on your own, and Medicare can’t reimburse you. Signing such a contract is giving up your right to use Medicare for your health purposes.

Before you sign a private contract, you should know the following:

  • Medicare can’t reimburse you
  • Medicare can’t pay for services
  • You can pay for services whenever you want, without signing a contract
  • The service provider sets prices

How to Avoid Excess Charges

You can avoid excess charges by visiting a provider who accepts Medicare & participates in Medicare assignment. If your provider does not accept Medicare assignment, you can get a Medigap plan that will cover any excess charges. Not all Medigap plans will cover excess charges, but some do. Give us a call to see what Medigap plans in your area will cover excess charges. If you prefer, fill out our online rate form, and one of our Medicare agents will call you with your rates.

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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.

10 thoughts on “What is Medicare Assignment & What Doctors Accept It

  1. We accept Medicare but claims were denied because it’s under capitation what does it means. Who’s is payer insurance of the services. This is a solo medical practice

  2. Hello Lindsay,

    I work for a provider that accepts Medicare, however we do balance bill. Is there a difference between Medicare and Medicare assigment? Are they in fact 2 different programs? We have conflicting information and want to clear this up.

    1. Hi Amy! You can accept Medicare, but be a non-participating provider. This means you do accept Medicare, but you do not accept the Medicare-approved amount for a service. Non-participating providers can balance bill up to 15% of the Medicare-approved amount for the service. I wouldn’t say it’s two different programs but one of three billing arrangement options for providers who accept Medicare. I hope this helped clarify!

  3. Hi, Lindsay, my wife received a Medicare Claim Notice for care she received from a non-participating provider (my wife paid the entire claimed amount at the time of the appointment). One note on the claim notice said, “Under federal law, your doctor cannot charge more than $38.34. If you have already paid more than this amount, you are entitled to a refund from the provider.” The provider refuses to refund us the $61.66 overpayment my wife paid. I called Medicare, and they don’t care. Who can we report this to?

    1. Hi William! Your best bet is to call Medicare. However, since you’ve already gone that route and had no luck, I would contact your carrier directly. Have them put in writing & document what their responsibility is and the overpayment to provide to the doctor. Hopefully, that will get their attention.

    1. Hi Elizabeth! If they accept Medicare Assignment, the doctor can only bill the amount Medicare has approved. If you don’t have any supplemental insurance, Medicare will bill you the remaining amount after they cover their portion of the costs. If the doctor does not accept Medicare Assignment, they can bill you up to 15% in excess charges for each service.

  4. Hello Lindsay. My doctors office says they accept medicaid. Does that mean they accept medicare? I have plan N with Cigna.

    1. Hi Thomas! Medicare & Medicaid are two different types of health coverage. However, I would imagine if your doctor accepts Medicaid, they probably accept Medicare. I would just give them a call to verify.

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