If you’re unhappy with your care, let us know – File a Medicare complaint.

When you’re unhappy with the quality of your health care, you might first want to talk with the person who gave you the care. If you don’t want to talk to that person or need more help, you can file a Medicare complaint. Filing a complaint is your right, so if you think you aren’t getting high-quality care, we want to know.

How you file a complaint depends on what it’s about: 

If you’re enrolled in a Medicare health or drug plan, each plan has its own rules for filing Medicare complaints. If you still need help after you file a complaint with your plan, call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). TTY users can call 1-877-486-2048.

If you’ve contacted 1-800-MEDICARE about a Medicare complaint and still need help, ask the person you talk with at 1-800-MEDICARE to send your complaint to the Medicare Beneficiary Ombudsman. The Ombudsman staff will help make sure your complaint is resolved.

You can also file an appeal if you disagree with a coverage or payment decision made by Medicare, your Medicare health plan, or Medicare Prescription Drug Plan. 

For other kinds of Medicare-related complaints, call your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) for free, personalized help. 

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Be a “wise guy”— know the importance of health screenings

Are you a guy who puts off doing a task and later wishes he’d just done it? Take care of your body. If you’re a man with Medicare, ask your doctor if you should get tested for prostate cancercolorectal cancer, or both. Getting screened is the smart move—screening tests can find cancer early, when treatment works best.

Don’t use cost as an excuse to avoid screenings. Medicare covers a digital rectal exam and a prostate specific antigen (PSA) test once every 12 months for men 50 or over. Also, Medicare covers a variety of colorectal cancer screenings—like the fecal occult blood testflexible sigmoidoscopy, or colonoscopy—and you pay nothing for most tests.

If you’re curious about when to get cancer screenings, keep this in mind: prostate cancer is the second most common cancer among men in the United States; it’s second only to lung cancer in the number of cancer deaths. About 13% of American men will get prostate cancer during their lifetime. Also, you’re at a higher risk for getting prostate cancer if you’re 50 or older, are African-American, or have a father, brother, or son who has had prostate cancer.

Colorectal cancer is also common among men—of cancers that affect both men and women, colorectal cancer is the second leading cancer killer in the United States, but it doesn’t have to be. If everyone 50 to 75 got screened regularly, we could avoid as many as 60% of deaths from this cancer.

In most cases, colorectal cancer develops from precancerous polyps (abnormal growths) in the colon or rectum. Fortunately, screening tests can find these polyps, so you can get them removed before they turn into cancer.

June is Men’s Health Month. Be a wise guy—don’t underestimate the importance of health screenings.  Get screened for prostate and colorectal cancer. Visit the Men’s Health Month website for more information.

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Concerned about your blood pressure? Medicare can help.

It’s difficult to detect high blood pressure. High blood pressure (also called “hypertension”) usually doesn’t have any warning signs until it causes more serious health issues, like heart attack and heart disease, stroke, eye damage, kidney disease, and vascular dementia.

Preventing & managing high blood pressure

While there are certain risk factors for high blood pressure that you can’t control, like age and family history, there are plenty of things you can do to prevent and manage high blood pressure.

  • Eat a healthy diet that’s low in salt and alcohol
  • Exercise regularly and manage stress
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Don’t smoke

Here’s how Medicare can help

Medicare covers:

May is National High Blood Pressure Education Month. Learn more about preventing and managing high blood pressure at CDC.gov.

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Medicare helps protect you from viral hepatitis

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Complications from hepatitis, an inflammation of the liver caused by a virus, kill nearly 1.4 million people worldwide every year.

Hepatitis is contagious. The Hepatitis B virus spreads through contact with the blood or other body fluids of an infected person. Viral hepatitis transmission happens when people come in contact with a contaminated object, like a used needle, where the virus can live for up to 7 days. Hepatitis B can range from being a mild illness, lasting a few weeks to a serious long-term illness that can lead to liver disease or liver cancer.

Fortunately, Medicare can help keep you protected from Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C, which are the most common types of viral hepatitis strains in the United States:

  • Generally, Medicare Part D (prescription drug coverage) covers Hepatitis A shots when medically necessary.
  • Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) covers Hepatitis B shots, which are usually given as a series of 3 shots over a 6-month period (you need all 3 shots for complete protection).
  • Medicare covers a one-time Hepatitis C screening test if your primary care doctor or practitioner orders it and you meet one of these conditions:
    • You’re at high risk because you have a current or past history of illicit injection drug use.
    • You had a blood transfusion before 1992.
    • You were born between 1945 and 1965.
      May is Hepatitis Awareness Month. Find out more about viral hepatitis prevention and treatment.

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Stroke Awareness: What are the signs?

More than 800,000 strokes happen each year in the United States. Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S. and is a major cause of serious disability for adults.

A stroke is caused by blocked blood flow to the brain and can affect a person’s speech, movement, memory, and more. It’s important to know the signs of a stroke and get help quickly. Some of the warning signs include:

  • Weakness in the face, arm, or leg
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Vision loss
  • Dizziness
  • Brief loss of consciousness

If you think you or a loved one is having a stroke, call 911 immediately and note the time when the first symptoms appeared.

Anyone can have a stroke at any age, but almost three-quarters of all strokes happen in people over 65. Certain factors can increase your chances of having a stroke, like smoking and drinking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and bad eating habits. Up to 80% of strokes may be prevented by living a healthy lifestyle. Taking advantage of these Medicare preventive services can help:

In most cases, you’ll pay nothing for these services.

If you’re new to Medicare, you can get a “Welcome to Medicare” preventive visit where your doctor will give you information about free screenings and preventive services available to you.

Talk to your doctor about ways you can take small steps now to improve your health. For more details about Medicare’s coverage of preventive services, get a copy of “Your Guide to Medicare’s Preventive Services.”

May is National Stroke Awareness Month. It’s a great time to learn about the signs of stroke and the Medicare preventive services that can help you prevent stroke.

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Make your mark & celebrate Older Americans Month

You can enrich your community this spring and all year long by sharing your invaluable experiences and talents with your family, friends, and neighbors. May is Older Americans Month. Medicare supports this year’s theme of “Make Your Mark” by celebrating your very important contributions to society—from swapping stories with your family to volunteering in your community even if it’s virtually—that add to your overall health and independence.

Here are some simple ways you can “make your mark.” Be sure to use the hashtag #OAM2020 on your social media posts to show us what you’re doing.

  • Volunteer: Now’s a great time to connect with others remotely. Mentor a student who could use extra tutoring via video chat.
  • Share: Document your life lessons or organize the old photos sitting in your basement. Your grandchildren will appreciate them.
  • Connect: Join an online book club or post your latest art project on social media. You never know who you may inspire.

Learn more about living independently and getting involved in Older Americans Month.

Medicare’s here to make sure you’re feeling well so you can be the best volunteer, mentor, parent, grandparent, and neighbor that you can be. Medicare offers many preventive services, like shots and screenings, which contribute to your overall health and independence by preventing or detecting illness at an early stage.

Best of all, you pay nothing for most preventive services if you get the services from a health care provider who accepts assignment. Call your doctor to discuss what Medicare services you may need and the best time to get them.

Visit Medicare.gov for the full list of preventive services that Medicare covers. Join us in celebrating Older Americans Month in 2020.

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May is Osteoporosis Month—are your bones strong?

Are you doing what you can to keep your bones strong? Each year, more Americans are diagnosed with osteoporosis, a disease that causes bones to weaken and become more likely to break. Since you can’t feel your bones getting weaker, you may not even know that you have this “silent” disease until you suffer a broken bone.

Osteoporosis month is the perfect time to learn the facts, so you can protect your bones and keep them strong:

  • Osteoporosis isn’t a normal part of aging.
  • 1 in 2 women and 1 in 4 men over 50 will develop osteoporosis.
  • Half of all adults over 50 are at risk for breaking a bone.
  • You may be able to make your bones stronger.

Talk to your doctor about getting a bone mass measurement, which is the best way to know if you have or are at risk for osteoporosis. If you’re at risk, Medicare covers this test at least once every 24 months when ordered by your doctor or other qualified provider.

May is National Osteoporosis Month. Learn more from the National Osteoporosis Foundation about your risk for osteoporosis and how to prevent and treat it.

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Medicare is here for your mental health

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Medicare cares about your mental health and offers services to support you. Mental health conditions, like depression or anxiety, can happen at any time to anyone. So, it’s important to talk to your doctor if you’re experiencing:

  • Thoughts of ending your life
  • Sad, empty, or hopeless feelings
  • A lack of energy
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Little interest in things you used to enjoy
  • Weight loss or loss of appetite
  • Increased use of alcohol or other drugs
  • Loss of self-worth
  • Social withdrawal and isolation

Medicare helps pay for mental health services through Part A and Part B. If you have Part A and you’re an inpatient in a general or psychiatric hospital, Medicare helps pay for therapy, lab tests, and other services. If you have Part B, Medicare helps cover mental health visits you would get from a doctor and services you generally get outside of a hospital. These include one depression screening per year, one alcohol misuse screening per year, opioid use disorder treatment services, and other services.

Your mental health is just as important as your physical health, and Medicare wants you to feel safe and supported. May is Mental Health Awareness Month, so visit Medicare.gov for more information about your mental health coverage.

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5 things to know about the Medicare appeals process

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If you disagree with a coverage or payment decision made by your Medicare health or prescription drug plan, you can file an appeal. Here are 5 key things to know about the Medicare appeals process:

  1. You can file an appeal if Medicare or your plan denies one of these:
    • Your request to get a health care service, item, or drug you think should be covered, provided, or continued.
    • Your request for payment for a health care service, item, or drug you already got.
    • Your request to change the amount you pay for a health care service, item or drug.
  2. If you decide to file an appeal:
    • Ask your doctor, health care provider, or supplier for any information that may help your case.
    • Contact your plan for information on your appeal rights.
  3. The Medicare appeals process has 5 levels. If you disagree with the decision made at any level, you can generally go to the next one. You’ll get instructions in each decision letter on how to move to the next level.
  4. You have the right to a fast appeals process if you think your Medicare-covered services are ending too soon. Ask your provider for more information on how to file a fast appeal.
  5. You might need to send us some documents. If you do:
    • Make sure your Medicare Number is on all of them.
    • Keep a copy of everything you send for your records.

Get help and more information on filing an appeal.

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