The Medicare Summary Notice (MSN) is a summary of health care services and items you have received during the previous three months. The MSN is not a bill. The contractor that processes your claims for Medicare will send you the MSN, so it may have the name and address of a private company on it.

MSNs are usually mailed four times a year (quarterly) and contain information about charges billed to Medicare, the amount that Medicare paid, and the amount you are responsible for. Note that you may receive additional MSNs if you receive reimbursement for a bill you paid.

It is important to know that if you have not received health care services during a particular quarter, you will not receive an MSN. If you have received services but have not received an MSN, call 1-800-MEDICARE or access your MSN online at www.mymedicare.gov (however, you should still request a paper copy for your records).

In addition to the health care services you received in a given quarter, your MSN lists:

  • The amount providers billed Medicare for those services (Note: The “Amount Charged” field does not show your costs.)
  • The amount Medicare paid providers for each service
  • The amount you may need to pay directly to providers (indicated in the “You May Be Billed” field). Note that you will receive a bill from providers and do not need to pay anything until you have received a bill.
  • Any non-covered charges. This field shows the portion of charges for services that are denied or excluded (never covered) by Medicare. A $0.00 in this field means that there were no denied or excluded services. A charge in this field means you are responsible for paying it. If you disagree with a non-covered charge, you should file an appeal.

In many instances, Medicare forwards your MSN to your secondary insurer, which may help with some or all of the remaining costs.

Try to save your MSNs. You might need them in the future to prove that payment was made if a provider’s billing department makes a mistake or if you claimed a medical deduction on your taxes. If you have lost your MSN or you need a duplicate copy, call 1-800-MEDICARE or go to your account on www.mymedicare.gov.