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WAYNE COUNTY – Automatic Premium payments for Medicare Advantage plans (Part C) and prescription drug plans (Part D) have gone unpaid for 250,000 retirees for past five months or so because of a “processing error,” according to Social Security and Medicare.
Federal officials say plan participants should be watching the mail for letters from their insurance companies asking for the unpaid premiums, which would have normally been deducted from their Social Security checks each month.
However, that is going to leave Medicare recipients on the hook for the unpaid bills, and some have already lost coverage because of the glitch
Members of the House Ways and Means Committee wrote a letter to the agencies asking for answers. The letter said in 2019, premiums for Part D coverage averaged $30 per month nationally, while Medicare Advantage plans cost up to $200 per month. Moreover, on average, retirees receive $1,400 a month from Social Security.
Retirees will need to find money to pay the outstanding premiums, the agencies said, because Social Security cannot deduct premiums for past months. In a memo to insurance companies, Jennifer Shapiro, the acting director for the Medicare Plan Payment Group, said insurers must offer payment plans for those who can’t pay the back premiums in full.
Beneficiaries who have their premiums charged to a credit card or deducted from a checking account were unaffected. If you’re not sure if your premiums are current, contact your plan providers and check your Social Security payment records.