If at First You Don’t Succeed…Calling Medicare

I have no poignant anecdotes to include in this blog post. Only a piece of advice about dealing with Medicare over the phone.

If at first you don’t succeed, then try calling again to speak with a different representative. This is the lesson I’ve learned as I’ve been on the phone with Medicare a few times on my mom’s behalf. Long story short on my most recent issue, I was simply trying to make sure her prescription drug coverage didn’t lapse.

Nobody seems to have a whole picture of what’s going on. Sometimes I call and the person says they can only speak to her and not to me, even though I did both mail and fax a form she signed giving me permission. Other folks, as long as I can supply her Social Security number, place of birth, etc., they’re good with it. Doesn’t mean they can tell me what I need to know, but they will try. I’ve gotten transferred a lot. I think everything’s good now. She has her new prescription drug cards.

And I figured out something. If the representative I’ve reached seems unable or unwilling to help, I shouldn’t accept that answer as the end of the matter. I simply say, “Thanks for your time. Goodbye.” Then I hang and up and immediately redial. The person with whom I was just speaking has moved on to a different call, and I get someone new. Possibly someone who knows more or is more willing to work with me. This strategy has solved my problem more than once. And, magically, they never seem to realize I have already called and talked to someone else who told me they couldn’t help. I’d assumed they would put a not in the record, a note the next person would see, but apparently not.

So if you’re getting the run-around with Medicare, just keep calling back. It works for me.

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