Good News From Medicare: Tucson Senior is Alive!

The Tucson senior whose Medicare record was incorrectly changed to “deceased” received good news yesterday.  He got a call from a Medicare representative to inform him that his record had been corrected.  I was very impressed that Medicare, a bureaucracy with over 40 million members, called this man to apologize for the problem and let him know it had been fixed.

I have a feeling this Tucson citizen got some special attention because Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford’s office got involved in his case.  On top of that, the Medicare Administrator put one of his aides on the case after I requested help last week during a conference call.  I’m not sure where the credit for the fix lies, but I am impressed by the quick action and efforts of Dan Frey in Congresswoman Gifford’s office and Peter Ashkenaz at Medicare headquarters in Washington, DC.

The problem for this Tucson senior arose when his wife died two months ago.  Because his wife was a housewife throughout her life, her Medicare number was her husband’s number with the letter B after it.  It is not hard to imagine that Social Security could make a mistake with this number that appeared in both the wife’s and her husband’s record.  Social Security changed the husband’s record to “deceased” and this information went to Medicare.

When this man went to enroll in a new Medicare Advantage plan, he was “denied due to death” by the company.  That happened a month ago and we went round and round trying to figure out how and when his Medicare record would get fixed.  I’m happy to report that this man also was informed yesterday that he is enrolled in a new Medicare Advantage plan for January 1.

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