We have had a number of clients call us this year with this question. Sometimes the plans get overwhelmed with the number of enrollees and are late getting out the details. The most important item to receive is your “Welcome to the Plan” letter. This letter has your ID information on it and can be used as an insurance card until you get the actual card. We have had a number of individuals who have not received those.
We have advised calling the plan and get this information over the phone. There are times when this can be a long difficult process. Being on hold, and working through the call chain can be frustrating. I would tell you to get a good book, a glass of something to drink and if you have your phone on speaker if possible, so you don’t have to hold it to your ear. Then sit back and wait for them to answer the call. Once you get a person to talk to, you can talk through your concerns and get the information you require to access your prescription drug coverage.
Another way of getting your information last year and this year is using the updated Medicare.gov website. This website has a login and password that allows you to access your data for many of your insurance products from that Medicare website. If you have established that login and password you can access your current (and past) insurance coverage information. This allows you to research your coverage and also print out card data from your new Part D insurance plan. This has allowed us to help many clients access their information using the login and password they have established on the Medicare.gov website.
You can also use the company’s website to access your data. This will require you going to the company website and establishing a login and password. Unfortunately most of these sites require you to have your member ID to begin the process. If you never received that it makes that impossible to do. But the Medicare.gov website can get you that member ID, which then allows you to set up a direct link with the company to access your account data. You can also pay the payment of the premiums, and access their formulary (drugs they cover) and your claim history.
I would also ask that you consider reaching out to Medicare directly to inform them of your difficulties. This information will help Medicare work with the insurance companies and hold them accountable for the service they provide. You can call 1-800-MEDICARE anytime 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This call will require some patience on your part, but it will give Medicare the information they need to understand the difficulties enrollees are having with their insurance coverage. If we don’t tell Medicare, Medicare won’t know about the problem.
If you don’t use a computer or understand how to do any of these to get the help you need, please reach out to a family member or friend who is more computer savvy. Or you can reach out to an agency like Office for the Aging, or Senior Life Matters to help you through this process. If you saw an insurance agent or broker to enroll in your coverage, reach out to them and they can help you get the information you need to access your coverage.
Happy New Year!
Senior Life Matters is a community based program sponsored by Lutheran Jamestown. For questions and concerns or to reach Janell Sluga, GCMC, call us at 716-720-9797 or e-mail at SLM@lutheran-jamestown.org.