What is "assignment" and why is it important?

Assignment is an agreement between Medicare and health care providers or suppliers of health care equipment. Doctors and suppliers who agree to accept assignment accept the Medicare approved amount as payment in full for Part B services and supplies while beneficiaries are responsible for the coinsurance and deductible amounts. In some cases (such as if you have both Medicare and Medicaid), your health care providers and suppliers must accept assignment. If assignment is not accepted, the beneficiary will have to pay the entire charge at the time of service. Medicare will then send the beneficiary its share of the charge which is equal to 80 percent of Medicare’s allowable amount minus any remaining portion of the beneficiary’s deductible. Medicare approved amounts vary by state.