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Medicare Premiums Not Withheld: Area Agency on Aging of the Panhandle Explains

Thanks so much to Lisa Hancock of the Area Agency on Aging of the Panhandle for stopping by High Plains Morning today and breaking down the problem with Medicare payment withdrawals and how it might affect those receiving benefits.

Basically, premiums for Medicare Advantage Plans (Part C) and prescription drug plans (Part D) that were supposed to be withheld from my January 2019 Social Security benefits simply were not withheld. Why? What happened? Well, they’re not sure…but in short, here’s an explanation:

Due to a processing error in January, some Medicare Advantage and Part D beneficiaries' requests to have premiums withheld from their Social Security benefit checks did not go through. As a result, those premiums have not been paid. Plans will be sending premium bills to those affected directly instead.  

If you are affected and haven’t already received a bill in the mail, you will soon. The first bill will likely be for a larger amount than usual to make up for the unpaid premiums.
The plan may resubmit your request for Social Security withholding, but you will still need to pay any unpaid premiums. You can find additional information from Medicare in the premium withholding issue notice. 
Don’t panic! If this affects you, Lisa says your insurance plan must offer you a grace period that matches the amount of time delayed – so approximately six months.

If you need assistance, contact a benefits counselor at 806.331.2227, or email Lisa Hancock here. (If you’re not from the Texas Panhandle, don’t worry: she can redirect you to a local office.) For direct help, contact Medicare at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).  

IMPORTANT: Be sure to have your Medicare number ready.

Jenny Inzerillo joined HPPR in 2015 as the host of High Plains Morning, our live music program that airs weekdays at 9 am to noon CST. Broadcasting from KJJP in beautiful downtown Amarillo, she helps listeners wake up with inspired music from our region and beyond. Tune in for new voices in folk/Americana, deep cuts from your favorite artists, soulful tracks from singer/songwriters across the world, and toe-tapping classics dating as far back as the 1920s. Plus, discover underground greats that just might be your new favorite band.