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Medical Expenses Before Becoming Medicare-Eligible
(Posted November 23, 2003)
Question 337: I'm helping a person who is eligible for Railroad Retirement benefits due to a disability. How far back does Medicare cover a disabled worker? It took a while for the worker to get benefits, and Medicare is effective after 24 months of benefits. Can Medicare go back before the effective date to get medical bills related to the disability paid?
Answer: Medicare will cover only services rendered on or after the effective date. There is no provision for payment for services before the beginning of the 25th month of disability benefits.
If the disabled worker has private or group health insurance, those benefits might cover some or all of the costs.
There is also the federal-state Medicaid program, and other state and local programs, which might be of assistance to people with limited income and resources.
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