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Medicare claims statement simpler

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has redesigned the Medicare Summary Notice (MSN) to make it more consumer-friendly. The notice, which includes details about beneficiaries' claims for Medicare services and other benefits, will continue to be issued on a quarterly basis.

Beneficiaries who receive paper statements in the mail will begin getting the redesigned MSN early in 2013. However, the new version of the statement is already available online. It can be accessed through www.mymedicare.gov , a secure site.

The redesign is part of a new CMS initiative, "Your Medicare Information: Clearer, Simpler, At Your Fingertips." It makes information on benefits, providers and claims more easy to understand and also makes it easier for a beneficiary to appeal a denied service.

Changes also include larger type fonts for enhanced readability, more easily understood descriptions of medical procedures, and more information about how to spot fraudulent billing entries.

CMS says the MSN's "new look" is a result of 18 months of research and incorporating feedback from beneficiaries and caregivers.