Q. How is the Medicare Part B annual deductible applied to payment?
A. For each calendar year, a certain cash deductible exists that must be met before payment may be made by Medicare.
• The deductible for 2014 and 2015 is $147.00. • The deductible for 2016 is $166.00.
Patient expenses are applied toward the deductible based on incurred, rather than paid expenses, and are based on Medicare allowed amounts. Non-covered expenses do not count toward the deductible. If an individual does not have Part B benefits for an entire calendar year (i.e., insurance coverage begins after the first month of the year), he or she is still subject to the full deductible for the calendar year. Medical expenses they incurred during the year, but before they are actually entitled to Medicare, cannot be applied to the deductible. Although the date of service generally determines when expenses were incurred, the order in which expenses are applied to the deductible is based on when the bills are actually received.
• Note: Services not subject to the deductible cannot be used to satisfy the deductible.
Q: When is it acceptable to collect the deductible from the beneficiary?
A: When assignment is accepted, Medicare Part B recommends:
• Since it is difficult to predict when deductible/coinsurance amounts will be applicable - and over-collection is considered program abuse - do not collect these amounts until you receive Medicare Part B payment.
• If you believe you can accurately predict the coinsurance amount and wish to collect it before Medicare Part B payment is received, note the amount collected for coinsurance on your claim form. (We do not recommend that you collect the deductible prior to receiving payment from Medicare Part B because, as noted above, over-collection is considered program abuse and can cause a portion of the provider's check to be issued to beneficiaries on assigned claims.)
• Do not show any amounts collected from patients if the service is never covered by Medicare Part B or you believe, in a particular case, the service will be denied payment. Where patient paid amounts are shown for services that are denied payment, a portion of the provider's check may go to the beneficiary.