Ways To Apply For Disability Benefits:
- If you or your spouse worked for a railroad, call the Railroad Retirement Board at 1-877-772-5772.
Once your disability benefits start, well mail you a welcome package with your Medicare card.
Sign up for Part B if you live in Puerto Rico or outside the U.S.You get Part A automatically. If you want Part B, you need to sign up for it. If you dont sign up for Part B within 3 months after your Part A starts, you might have to wait to sign up for Part B and pay a monthly late enrollment penalty.
What You Need To Have Ready Before Calling Medicare
Before calling Medicare, youll need to have several pieces of information readily available. This will help the customer service representative identify you and quickly address your questions or concerns.
What to Have Ready When Calling Medicare
- Your red, white and blue Medicare card.
- A pen or pencil and paper to take notes.
- The amount you have already paid, if you are calling about a claim.
- The date you got a medical service or medical supplies, if youre calling about a claim.
- The type of service or supplies you received, if youre calling about a claim.
- Your doctors or other providers name, if youre calling about a claim.
- Your Medicare Summary Notice, if youre calling about a claim and the MSN is available.
You may also want to have a friend or family member listen in to the call on speakerphone. They should stay quiet but take notes for you so you can concentrate on the conversation with your customer service representative.
Also remember that you can request the information from Medicare in writing. Just ask for it at the end of your call.
You Automatically Get Medicare When You Turn 65
- Well mail you a welcome package with your Medicare card 3 months before your Medicare coverage starts.
Sign up for Part B if you live in Puerto Rico or outside the U.S.You get Part A automatically. If you want Part B, you need to sign up for it. If you dont sign up for Part B within 3 months of turning 65, you might have to wait to sign up and pay a monthly late enrollment penalty.
When Should You Contact Medicare
You should contact Medicare when you have questions or concerns about your Original Medicare coverage. If you have issues with a Medicare Advantage, Medigap or Medicare Part D prescription drug plan, you should contact the company that administers your plan.
Medicare customer service can help you with the following issues:
How Do You Check Your Medicare Coverage Status
There are several ways Social Security Administration and Medicare allow you to monitor the status of your coverage. Because SSA handles your initial enrollment in Original Medicare Part A and/or Part B, it is important that you stay in touch with them throughout the process and beyond. They can be contacted in the following ways:
|How to Check Your Medicare Coverage Status|
||If You or Your Spouse Worked For a Railroad
Once your application is processed, you will receive a notification letter in the mail to inform you of whether your application was approved.
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How To Find Important Information About Medicare
If youre looking to find important information about your Medicare coverage, the Medicare hotline might not always have the answers youre looking for.
If you have Medicare Advantage, Medigap, or Medicare Part D prescription coverage, you may have to go directly to those private insurance providers for answers to your questions.
Other Ways To Contact Medicare
There are several ways to contact Medicare and receive information in a way you can understand and in an accessible form.
When you make a request, be sure to include your name, phone number, type of information you need and the mailing address where you want Medicare to send you the information.
You can also access all of Medicares print publications at the agencys website. These may be a quick way for you to find the information youre looking for.
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How To Communicate With Your Local Representatives
Communicating with a government representative about your Medicare coverage is an important conversation. Here are some pointers on how to best prepare for it:
- Before you ask a question, do your research. Make sure youve prepared your question and know the background well enough to explain your question if necessary.
- In order to get the most information possible, make sure to phrase your question carefully and avoid giving the option of a simple yes or no answering your question.
- If you have a question, you want to be taken seriously and get the most you can in your answer. In order to do that, its best to be respectful and not get heated.
Remember the saying, you catch more flies with honey and remain tactful when talking with the representative in order to get the most information possible. If you prepare yourself beforehand and remain respectful whether its in person or over the phone, you have better chances of getting an in depth answer that fully answers your question.
The conversation about Medicare coverage will continue to be important as it is ongoing. If you have concerns, dont hesitate to reach out to your local government official to share your thoughts on how you feel they should work to protect Medicare.
The new Medicare Plus Card saves you up to 75% on things not covered by Medicare
When Can You Get Free At
If you have a Medicare Advantage Plan, you are enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B. You must be enrolled in both before you can join a Medicare Advantage Plan. The free at-home COVID-19 tests may not be available as a benefit through your Medicare Advantage Plan, but you can still get up to eight free at-home tests monthly through Medicare Part B. You can contact your plan to see if it offers free at-home tests. Even if it does, you are still eligible for the free tests through this Medicare initiative.
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When Should I Not Call 1
Do not call 1-800-MEDICARE if you have specific questions about your Medicare Advantage or Part D plan. Because these policies are administered by private insurers, you must contact your plan insurer directly . This includes questions on plan premiums, deductibles, claims status, and other issues that are plan-specific.
You can also call 1-800-MEDICARE for general Medicare questions not mentioned in this article.
Jesse Migneault is a journalist and editor who has written about business, government and healthcare including public and private-payer health insurance. His articles have appeared in HealthPayerIntelligence, the Hartford Courant, Portsmouth Herald, Seacoastonline.com, Fosters Daily Democrat, and York County Coast Star.
In addition, his work has been cited by health industry stakeholders such as the Eugene S. Farley Health Policy Center, Association of Healthcare Journalists, American Academy of Actuaries, Kaiser Permanente, blueEHR, San Diego Law Review, Medicare Agent News, healthjournalism.org, and Concierge Medicine among others.
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How Do You Know If Your Medicare Coverage Has Started
You will receive a letter from SSA confirming your enrollment choice and the date it will begin.
Your Medicare card will contain pertinent information regarding your enrollment. Once you receive your Medicare Card, be sure to check that your name, Medicare number, and start dates are all on the card and that the information is correct.
The start dates located in the lower right corner of your card indicate when your Part A and B coverage begins. If you see a Medicare Part A start date and not a Part B start date, you are not enrolled in Part B. If any information is missing or incorrect on your card, contact Medicare by telephone immediately.
Get Started With Medicare
Medicare is health insurance for people 65 or older. Youre first eligible to sign up for Medicare 3 months before you turn 65. You may be eligible to get Medicare earlier if you have a disability, End-Stage Renal Disease , or ALS .
Follow these steps to learn about Medicare, how to sign up, and your coverage options. Learn about it at your own pace.
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When Do You Receive Your Medicare Card
Once enrolled, youll receive a red, white, and blue Medicare card. You should receive your card two to three months preceding your 65th birthday if you are automatically enrolled. If you manually enrolled, you will likely receive your card three to four weeks later.
Contact SSA three months before you are to start Medicare coverage to make sure your enrollment is processed correctly. Being proactive is important with everything pertaining to Medicare.
How Do I Contact Medicare To File A Complaint Against My Doctor Or Hospital
Complaints against a health care provider fall into four basic categories:
- Complaints of abuse or unsafe conditions,
- Complaints about physical hospital conditions such as poor housekeeping or lack of heat or air conditioning,
- Complaints about unprofessional conduct, or
- Complaints about your quality of care, such as prescription drug errors, unnecessary procedures, or poor discharge planning and follow up care.
The first three issues are generally handled by your stateâs health department or medical board. In these situations, you should not contact Medicare but go directly to the state agency responsible for overseeing health practices and facilities.
If you have a quality of care complaint, you should contact Medicare to connect with your local Beneficiary and Family Centered Care Quality Improvement Organization . This is the organization charged with handling Medicare complaints about the quality of care for beneficiaries.
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Where Else Can I Get Medicare Advice
State Health Insurance Assistance Programs are free volunteer-based Medicare counseling services available in each state. These programs provide unbiased counseling about Medicare questions including details about coverage, benefits, and costs . SHIPs can also assist beneficiaries with complaints or appeals. Importantly, SHIPs can also assist with coverage changes like choosing the right Medicare Advantage or Part D plan for your needs.
Tips On Entering Letters Into The Interactive Voice Response System
With a touch-tone phone, you can obtain the latest information on your claims and other Medicare issues. The IVR is available 24 hours a day to acquire general information. To obtain specific information the IVR is available from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Friday, ET.The IVR is available at 877-288-7600.
How to enter the providerâs PTAN: The table below shows how to enter alphabetic characters of the providerâs PTAN. For example:
- If the PTAN is the individual number and begins with a ‘P’, then the provider would key *71 followed by the other numeric characters
- If the PTAN is the group number and begins with ‘CM’, then the provider would key *23 *61 followed by the other numeric characters
- Note: The providerâs NPI and Tax identification number will be entered corresponding to the key pad on the telephone
Please note that the providerâs PTAN, NPI and Tax ID must correspond. This means if the provider enters their individual PTAN, then the individual NPI for that provider must be entered. If the provider enters their group PTAN, then the group NPI for that provider must be entered.
If the last name has more than six letters , you will only use the first six letters of the last name Johnson. If the last name and the suffix are less than six letters combined, the provider will not add any additional characters or numbers they will simply press the pound key.
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What Information Can I Find At Medicaregov
Medicare.gov contains a treasure trove of contact information and details about Medicare coverage. For contact information, visit the contact page of the website and enter your state or territory then choose the organization or topic from a dropdown menu.
For complete do-it-yourself Medicare access, visit MyMedicare.gov, and set up your own account with a user name and password. Your own MyMedicare.gov account will allow you to:
- view and print a copy of your Medicare card,
- track Original Medicare claims and your Part B deductible,
- register for electronic Medicare Summary Notices ,
- update and manage your medical information ,
- view the Medicare & You handbook electronically,
- update your drug list and pharmacy information,
- manage your providers.
How Can I File A Complaint With Medicare
You can file a complaint if you feel any of your rights under Medicare have been violated. A complaint is different from an appeal for a payment decision.
If youâre enrolled in any Medicare plan, you have certain Medicare rights guaranteed by the government. For example, you have
- The right to privacy,
- The right to be treated fairly,
- The right to be protected against unethical practices, and
- The right to receive any health care services you need as allowed under the law.
These rights cover you whether youâre enrolled in Original Medicare, a Medicare Advantage plan, a Medicare Supplement insurance plan, or a stand-alone Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan.
Sometimes, however, you may believe your rights were violated by a health care provider. When that happens, you also have the right to contact Medicare and file a grievance or complaint. Hereâs what you need to know in order to contact Medicare and have your complaints addressed.
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Best Practices For Calling Medicare Customer Service
Medicare’s phone-based customer support is available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, and is even open on some Federal holidays. Individuals who are deaf or have a hearing impairment can use Medicare’s TTY/TDD number.
There are several things that you can do to ensure that your call goes smoothly and that you get the information you need or an appropriate resolution to a problem:
First, Make sure that you are calling the right agency:
- Medicare is not the same as Medicaid, which is a federal health program for low-income individuals. You will have to call Medicaid’s central or regional offices if you need help with Medicaid issues.
- If you are trying to find out whether you qualify for Medicare, need to report the death of someone who receives medicare, want to sign up for Medicare Part A or B, order a replacement card, or need to challenge an income-based increase in your Medicare costs, you will need contact the Social Security Administration.
Next, have a way to take notes during your call. Knowing who you spoke to and what was said during your conversation can be helpful if you have to escalate your case. Be sure to add the date and time of your call to your notes.
Finally, make sure you have your Medicare card in front of you, along with any correspondence from Medicare that is relevant to your case.
When Should I Call 1
Beneficiaries can call the toll-free Medicare number to:
- ask whether certain services are covered,
- get detailed information about Medicare health and prescription drug plans in your area, including costs and services,
- choose and enroll in a Medicare health or prescription drug plan,
- find a Medigap policy in the area,
- request a list of Original Medicare physicians, healthcare providers, and suppliers,
- request information and forms necessary for filing a Medicare appeal or begin an appeal verbally,
- compare quality ratings for skilled nursing facilities, hospitals, home health agencies, and dialysis facilities,
- request Medicare publications.
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How Else Can I Contact Medicare
You can mail your questions or hard copies of documents to:
Medicare Contact Center OperationsLawrence, KS 66044
Or fax Medicare at 1-844-530-3676.
Medicare also has a live chat service that you can use to seek help or information in a text format online. This service is available 24/7.
Currently, Medicare does not offer an email option for general information and questions.
To request information in an accessible format call 1-877-486-2048 or email Medicare at .