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November 21, 2023
How should I use my Medicare & You handbook?

The Medicare & You handbook is mailed to all Medicare households each September and contains information on Medicare benefits.
Here are some helpful uses for your handbook:
Learn what’s new with Medicare. It’s important to know any updates about your Medicare coverage. For example, the 2021 Medicare & You book had updates on lower insulin costs, new acupuncture coverage for back pain, and virtual services. Remember that Medicare Advantage Plans must cover the same benefits that Medicare does; if you see an update to Medicare in your Medicare & You book, you should expect to have those same benefits with your Medicare Advantage Plan, although with possibly different costs or restrictions.
Understand how to enroll. If you are new to Medicare, the Medicare & You handbook can be helpful in explaining how to sign up. It explains who will be automatically enrolled, and who will need to actively sign up. The handbook lists instructions for signing up and offers resources to contact for assistance.
Compare private plans in your area. While there is a general version of the handbook available online, the version mailed to you or sent to you electronically will contain information specific to the area in which you live. It should contain a list of Medicare Advantage Plans, Part D plans, and supplemental Medigap plans available in your area for you to compare.
See if you qualify for any cost assistance programs. There are a variety of programs that help people save money on their Medicare. The Medicare & You handbook contains the eligibility guidelines (which are usually a person’s monthly or yearly income, and sometimes their assets) for these different programs. Use your handbook to see if you may be eligible for Extra Help, the Medicare Savings Program, or a State Pharmaceutical Assistance Program.
Learn about your rights. If you are denied coverage for a health service or item that you believe should be covered, your Medicare & You handbook contains helpful information on filing appeals. It additionally provides tips on protecting yourself from Medicare fraud and medical identity theft.
Use as a reference guide throughout the year. It is tough (and likely impossible!) to memorize everything about how Medicare works. Instead, keep your Medicare & You handbook to use as a reference guide as you need care throughout the year. The book contains an index of topics, as well as a dedicated section to finding out if Medicare covers your test, item, or service.
As you can see, the Medicare & You handbook can be helpful to you throughout the year. I highly recommend keeping it handy!
If you don’t receive your Medicare & You handbook, you can call 1-800-MEDICARE and request that a copy with information for your area be sent to you. If you would like to receive your handbook electronically, you can log into (or create) your Medicare account to sign up for electronic handbooks. You can also download a general version of the handbook at


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Posted August 16, 2021 by at United States in Medicare
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