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Does Original Medicare Cover Funeral Costs?

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Original Medicare doesn’t cover funeral or burial costs in the event of a beneficiary’s death. This also applies if the beneficiary was enrolled in a Medicare Medical Savings Account plan, a type of a high-deductible Medicare Advantage plan that includes a savings account used to pay for medical expenses. Funeral or bereavement expenses aren’t considered medical expenses and can’t be paid for using funds from a Medical Savings Account plan.

While Medicare coverage is limited, the Social Security Administration does pay survivor benefits, which you can use to pay for funeral costs. This death benefit is a one-time payment to the spouse or child of the beneficiary. Eligibility and the benefit amount will depend on how long your loved one worked and paid Social Security taxes.

Reporting a Medicare beneficiary’s death

If your family member or loved one was a Medicare beneficiary, you’ll need to report the death to Medicare. You can do so by contacting Social Security at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday, from 7AM to 7PM. TTY users can call 1-800-325-0778.

If your loved one worked for a railroad, contact the Railroad Retirement Board to report the death at 1-877-772-5772, Monday through Friday, from 9Am to 3:30PM. TTY users can call 1-312-751-4701.

If your loved one was enrolled in a Medicare plan from a Medicare-approved private insurer, such as a Medicare Advantage or Medicare Prescription Drug Plan, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will notify the plan after you report the death to Medicare. The beneficiary will be disenrolled from the plan the first day of the month after the month of death.

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