The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) recently outsourced their phone answering service to a call center. When you call 1-800-MEDICARE you are no longer speaking to personnel who are versed in the intricacies of the federal program Medicare.
The call center staffs key punchers who type your questions into a software program which regurgitates responses from the Medicare manual. While this practice may offer some answers, it does not address the complex issues of the caller.
Margaret moved back to Eastlake from New York to help care for her ailing father. She exhausted her family leave time with her employer in this endeavor and her health coverage lapsed. Also, during this time, her initial enrollment into Medicare passed. When she was able to surface from her familial responsibilities, she was further burdened with a late Part B enrollment penalty.
Her Part A became effective in February of this year but she had to wait until July for her Part B to become active. In June, she called 1-800 Medicare and asked when she should enroll in a prescription drug plan. The representative typed her question into the software program and informed Margaret that the annual enrollment began in October.
While this information is correct as stated, it does not address Margaret’s situation. If she waited until October to enroll in a drug plan with a start date of January, she would be eligible for another penalty. The staff answering this phone line does not have the knowledge or depth of understanding to ask the callers the appropriate questions to elicit the correct responses.
If you have questions about your Medicare coverage or enrollments contact me, your agent, social security or Council on Aging. They are trained to ask the appropriate questions to counsel the confusion of Medicare.
Serving seniors since 1999, Ginny Calvey is a certified licensed Insurance Broker representing all the the major carriers of both health and financial products designed to protect seniors through retirement and beyond. Her mission is service and she strives to not only provide education but explore all the options to which you are entitled. She is featured in My Medicare Question.com and author of "Life's Little Black Book>. Call for a free consultation.