Q: It is the end of month, and I still haven't heard from my new plan. What do I do?
A: Well today is the 30th, and most of you have heard from your new insurance plan, but I am sure there is more than one person out there who hasn't. I will assume that you changed your insurance choices for the New Year, and that you did so by the Dec. 7 midnight deadline. My first suggestion is to review the documents that you have from that enrollment process and see if you have any contact information for the new company.
If you do find that and have the contact information, please call them. Explain that you enrolled in one of their products and have not heard from them yet. You will probably need your Medicare card so that they can search their system for your records.
Hopefully this phone call will solve your dilemma. If they have you in the system they can give you your ID numbers over the phone, and you can give those numbers to your pharmacy and doctor's office. Then when you get your cards, you can give the cards to your providers to have a copy in their records.
In the situation where the company does not find you in the records, I would recommend contacting 1-800-medicare or www.medicare.gov. If you did your enrollment through one of these sources, they may be able to trace the problem and fix it. If you went to an individual, the company's website or their offices, my recommendation would be to track down the enrollment using that same source. It is helpful if you know the date and time you were helped and what your interpretation of what happened. Sometimes people think they enrolled in a plan when they really just got information about it, but didn't finish the enrollment with an actual application.
An application can also get held up because there is inaccurate information on it. A typo or a number misread can hold up the application from being processed. Sometimes tracking that down will allow you to fix the mistake and your enrollment to be processed correctly.
If you used the www.medicare.gov or 1-800-medicare to do your enrollment you were given a confirmation number. That confirmation number is what they use to track down the enrollment. I have found that the most common hiccup is misinformation or a typo in the data entered. These applications are processed by computers and computers cannot interpret data. If numbers are transposed, an address or date of birth is incorrect, that person simply doesn't exist. It goes into the research pile. Those applications are then sifted through by a person whose job it is to find the error. This time of year that pile is pretty big.
If you don't have those enrollment records, then you can still use the 1-800-medicare or www.medicare.gov tools. You just will use them differently. You want to "check current enrollment." There is a tool that Medicare has created, and by putting in your data - date of birth, Medicare number, last name, etc. - the computer can look up what you currently have and what you are signed up for to begin Jan. 1. That will give you the information you need to track down your enrollment information.
It may be that your chosen product is pretty overwhelmed and having a hard time responding to the demand for their product. Every year some insurer comes up with a great solution to all the insurance plan choices and they have high enrollment. That means this company or companies are swamped with enrollments and have to get out millions of packets to millions of enrollees. In past years this has actually been so overwhelming that companies' computers have actually crashed. This year enrollment seems to be going pretty smoothly for most, but that doesn't mean all!
If you are really having problems, another resource is the Medicare Rights Center. This is a nonprofit agency that is all about helping people with Medicare-related issues. Their contact information is 1-800-333-4114 or www.medicarerights.org. I have used this organization on more than one occasion and they are a wonderful resource.
Good luck and happy New Year!