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Medicare terms

Learn more about Medicare. Start with these definitions.

B

balance billing

Balance billing is a practice in which doctors or other health care providers bill you for charges that exceed the amount that will be reimbursed by Medicare for a particular service.  If you doctors is a participating provider with Medicare (96 percent of doctors who provide Medicare-covered services are participating providers), balance billing is forbidden.

beneficiary

The beneficiary is enrolled in Medicare or Medicaid insurance and receives benefits through those policies.

beneficiary encrypted file

A beneficiary encrypted file requires your authorization before it can be read or used by health care professionals.

benefit period

Your benefit period begins the very day you enter a hospital for care or a skilled nursing facility. The benefit period ends when 60 days have passed since you last received either hospital care or care from a skilled nursing facility.

bereavement services

Families of Medicare enrollees who have passed away are entitled to bereavement services, including hospice counseling, up to a full year after the enrollee has died.