Keeping track of due dates for various bills can be overwhelming. That’s why utility, mortgage, credit card, and other types of companies offer an automatic payment option. Now, Medicare does as well.
With Medicare Easy Pay, you can set up a recurring payment for your Medicare Part A and/or Part B premiums. This means payments for your Medicare premium are automatically deducted from your checking or savings account each month. No deadlines to remember, and no lapses in coverage. No venturing to the post office during COVID-19.
The best part? This service is completely free.
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As the name implies, Medicare Easy Pay is easy to set up. Here’s how it works:
Print and complete the Authorization Agreement for Preauthorized Payments form (SF-5510) that gives the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) permission to automatically deduct monthly Medicare premium amounts from your checking or savings account. This form is available in both English and Spanish.
Don’t have access to the Internet or a printer? Simply call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), and ask a representative to mail the form to you.
On this form, you’ll need to provide basic demographic information as well as details about your bank and the bank account number from which you want to withdraw payments each month. If you’re using a checking account, you’ll need to attach a blank, voided check as well. It should take you about 15 minutes to complete the form in its entirety.
Here are some tips to help you fill out the form correctly:
Mail the completed form to the following address:
Medicare Premium Collection Center
PO Box 790355
St. Louis, MO 63179-0355
Sit back, relax, and wait for confirmation of enrollment.
Medicare will process your form within six to eight weeks. Once processed, you’ll receive something that looks like a bill (Note: It’s called a CMS-500 form or ‘Medicare Premium Bill’); however, it will clearly state the following in the upper right corner: ‘THIS IS NOT A BILL.’
Once you receive this form, you’ll know you’ve been enrolled in Medicare Easy Pay. Until then, plan to pay your Medicare monthly premium bill just as you did previously using an electronic payment options (e.g., you can pay online through a secure Medicare account or using your bank’s online bill pay service) or by mailing payments directly to Medicare using a check, money order, credit card, or debit card.
Once enrolled in Medicare Easy Pay, there will be an automatic deduction from your checking or savings account usually on the 20th of each month. You’ll see these payments listed on your bank account statement as a ‘CMS Medicare Premium’ Automated Clearing House (ACH) transaction.
If, for some reason, the payment doesn’t go through, you’ll receive a letter from Medicare letting you know there was a problem and instructing you to pay using another method.
The short answer is yes. If you pay out-of-pocket monthly premiums for Medicare Part A or Part B, you can sign up for Medicare Easy Pay.
However, if you’re behind in your payments, you may need to catch up first before you can sign up. That’s because your first automatic deduction can only be up to three months of premium payments. Subsequent monthly payments can only equal one month’s premium plus an additional $10 maximum. If you owe more than this, you’ll need to pay another way until you’re all caught up.
There are several reasons some beneficiaries may consider using Medicare Easy Pay, such as the following:
Not really. However, as with any automatic bill pay, you need to make sure you have enough money to cover each withdrawal to avoid potential overdraft fees. Also, starting, stopping, or changing Medicare Easy Pay can take up to eight weeks.
In addition, you cannot use Medicare Easy Pay to pay monthly premiums for Medicare products offered by private insurance companies, nor can you use it to pay for Medicare Part D premiums, so you still need to keep track of these deadlines and payments separately.
Yes. Medicare uses encryption and other technologies to keep customers’ information secure. However, it’s always a good idea to check your bank account statement regularly to make sure the correct amount is debited each month.
If your Medicare premium amount changes, Medicare Easy Pay automatically deducts the new amount. Also, if you decide to change the bank account from which you withdraw payments, all you need to do is complete a new payment authorization agreement form.
If you want to stop Medicare Easy Pay, you can simply call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).
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Lisa Eramo is an independent health care writer whose work appears in the Journal of the American Health Information Management Association, Healthcare Financial Management Association, For The Record Magazine, Medical Economics, Medscape and more.
Lisa studied creative writing at Hamilton College and obtained a master’s degree in journalism from Northeastern University. She is a member of the American Health Information Management Association, American Academy of Professional Coders, Society of Professional Journalists, Association of Health Care Journalists and the American Society of Journalists and Authors.
Lisa currently resides in Cranston, Rhode Island with her wife and two-year-old twin boys.
LinkedIn: Lisa Eramo