Letters to the editor: Medicare plans offer little advantage

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The new Medicare Advantage Plans are not working to take the load off Medicare. They are simply taking advantage of the senior citizen. I have been “campaigning” for more than a year for the employees at Medicare (those on the government payroll with the great benefits and retirement packages) to simply do their job and get rid of all the Medicare Advantage Plans.

First of all, these plans are supposed to help seniors with Part D (prescriptions) not Part B. But, without letting the senior citizen know in some cases, they took Part B also, getting the senior citizen off Medicare’s 80/20 payment and onto a 50/50 split. Then, if the senior citizen doesn’t have a supplement or Medicaid to cover the 50% balance, the senior citizen, who’s on a fixed income, must pay out of pocket.

Second, some of the Medicare Advantage Plans are outsourcing claims to offices in foreign countries (the claims specialist I got on the 800 number was in Bangladesh). That puts the senior citizen’s name, address, phone number, SSN; doctor’s name, phone number, fax NPI, PTAN, UPIN, license number; and the citizen’s contact person name, phone number and address into a non-HIPPA state. Our federal government will contract with Medicare Advantage Plans that send all of my or your 81-year-old mother’s personal information into Pakistan? When will common sense attack our Medicare leaders and Congress?

I work for a very tiny DME company in Abilene, Texas; I’m not a rocket scientist; I’m just a 59-year-old medical billing specialist. But I can see the handwriting on the wall. We are absolutely not taking care of Medicare and seniors correctly.

Carol Graham, billing manager, Abilene, Texas