How Do I Report a Death to Medicare?

Fact Checked

If your loved one has passed away, it may seem like the world is on your shoulders. When reporting a death to Medicare, you’ll need to contact the Social Security Administration (SSA). While Medicare manages the health insurance aspect, the SSA handles most enrollment and notification aspects of your loved one’s insurance and retirement benefits.

Read on to explore when and how to report a beneficiary’s death to Medicare and SSA.

How Do You Report a Death to Medicare?

To report a death to Medicare, you or the funeral director need to contact SSA. You have two ways to report a death:

  1. Call (800)772-1213 or TTY (800)325-0788 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, in all time zones.
  2. The funeral director can complete the Statement of Death by Funeral Director form.

Who Is Responsible for Reporting a Death to Medicare?

Many times, the funeral home will notify SSA. If you want the funeral director to handle this, you will need to provide the SSA number of the deceased person. The director can add the number to the Statement of Death by Funeral Director form.

If you are handling this yourself and are taking care of the final affairs of the deceased, you will supply SSA with the SSA number and date of death for the beneficiary.

Can You Report a Death Online?

No. According to SSA’s website, you cannot report a death or apply for survivors benefits online. You will need to contact SSA by phone to report a death. However, this process is incredibly easy to complete by using the phone number above.

Who Notifies the Bank of a Death?

You will need to contact the bank and notify it of the death. If Medicare benefits were deposited automatically, that money may need to be returned to SSA. Checks from the SSA should not be cashed and need to be sent back to the government.

How Long Do You Have To Report a Death to Medicare or Social Security?

Notify SSA immediately when a beneficiary passes away.  The funeral home will address this, but you may want to verify it has been completed.

Understand that SSA will not stop paying a beneficiary until notification. Beneficiaries must live the entire month to be eligible for benefits. Refusing to alert SSA to a person’s passing and collecting SSA payments is illegal.

What Happens to Medicare Billing After Death?

After notification of death, Medicare will cancel Part A and B on the beneficiary’s behalf. Health providers can continue to submit claims that occurred prior to the death date for one year, but there might be deductibles and coinsurance that apply. Those bills would need to be covered by the estate.

You may still receive Medicare Summary Notices in the mail during that year post-death. Make sure to keep these on hand to ensure that bills are paid appropriately.

Do You Have To Cancel Medicare After Your Loved One Dies?

Part A and B Medicare Advantage or Stand-alone Part D Drug Plan Medigap Plan
  • Medicare will automatically disenroll the deceased upon notification
  • Medicare will automatically notify plans of the person’s death
  • Contact the insurance company directly to notify them of the passing
  • Medicare billing continues for up to one year after the death of the beneficiary
  • If a Medigap plan was in force at death, the Medigap plan is still responsible to pay its portion

Medicare Summary Notices notify you of the charges and payments to Medicare, but keeping these on file is important to ensure that the Medigap plan continues to pay its portion. This will reduce the out-of-pocket expenses that the estate would be responsible for.

What Documents Do You Need for Reporting Death to Medicare, Social Security, Banks and Others?

Reporting a death to SSA and Medicare does not require any specialized documentation for the person in charge of the arrangements for the deceased. The funeral director will submit a form to the SSA and only needs the deceased’s SSA number and date of death.

For banks, you may need the death certificate of the individual, their SSA number, and any legal documentation that gives you the power to make decisions for the person’s estate.

Medicare does not pay for funerals, but the SSA may pay survivor benefits. These benefits depend on what you are eligible for and it is vital to apply for them as soon as possible.

If you are applying for survivors benefits, you may need the following:

  • A birth certificate or other proof of birth
  • A death certificate for the deceased worker
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful alien status if you were not born in the U.S.
  • U.S. military discharge paper(s) if you had military service before 1968
  • W-2 forms(s) and/or self-employment tax returns for last year

It is important that you file for survivors benefits as soon as possible, even if you don’t have all of the required paperwork. This ensures that you do not lose out on benefits you are entitled to. In some cases, benefits may not be retroactive.

Travis Price
Medicare consultant

Travis Price is a licensed independent health insurance agent specializing in Medicare private insurance programs, including Medicare Advantage and Part D drug plans. Price has been in the Medicare industry since 2004, first in South Carolina and now in the Traverse City, Michigan, area.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in business management and accounting from Baker College. Price has worked with hundreds of Medicare-eligible beneficiaries to ensure they get the best plan to fit their medical needs without forcing them to pay for coverage that is unnecessary, saving them hundreds of dollars per year in health insurance costs.

Price supports his clients as an advocate, informing Medicare beneficiaries of their options and answering questions. He’s an active Medicare and insurance contributor on LinkedIn, Quora, and YouTube.

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