S.O.S. Speaking of Seniors

Written by Woodrow Wilcox. Posted in Senior Living

Published on August 15, 2011 with No Comments

by Woodrow Wilcox

On July 27, a client phoned a message to me to complain a bill was not paid. I returned the call and had the client fax the bill to me. The client is an elderly woman from northwest Indiana.

The bill was for physical therapy from a hospital in northwest Indiana. The unpaid balance was $132.  The woman used this insurance agency to obtain a very good Medicare supplement insurance policy from a very good insurance company. So, a bill for an unpaid balance would be very unusual.

I phoned the insurance company to learn what it knew of the bill. The insurance company already paid the bill. The check that the insurance company sent cleared the bank over a month before the demand for payment of the unpaid balance bill was sent to our client.

To help our client, I wrote a polite but firm letter to the hospital and cited the date that the check was cashed and the number of the check from the insurance company. When the hospital gets a letter, I expect that the records will be corrected to show that the bill is paid and that our client owes nothing.

My work on this matter saved this client $132 and some headache.

On July 15, another client and his wife visited my office as I had requested. I needed the client to be present to give permission to various people to allow them to discuss his medical bill problem with me. The client is a senior from Hobart.

For several weeks, I had tried to help the client with letters. Letters usually work to resolve the simple medical bill problems that this man had. But, sometimes, I encounter very stubborn people who just don’t care and don’t want to listen to reason.

The client had gotten a bill from a billing service in Atlanta. The firm claimed to represent emergency physicians at a hospital in northwest Indiana. The billing service had forwarded the claim to a collection law firm in Atlanta, Ga.  On June 2, 2011, I had written a polite letter to the hospital, the billing service, and the collection attorneys which told them that Medicare failed to send the claim to the client’s insurance company. In the letter I requested the billing service send certain essential information directly to the claims department at the client’s Medicare supplement insurance company so that the bill could be processed for payment. The letter was ignored and our client was hounded about the bill by the collectors.

With the client present and giving his verbal permission, I initiated separate discussions with people at the billing service and at the collection law firm, both in Atlanta. The people with whom I spoke were condescending and rude.  But, when I faxed something to each firm. I got a quick response.

The law firm faxed back to me that the bill collection was closed and marked as paid and that no negative report would be made to any credit reporting firm.  An hour later, I got a phone call from the billing service which said essentially the same thing.

For more than eight years, I have helped clients of this insurance agency by finding and correcting or cancelling medical bill mistakes that are caused by problems and errors with the Medicare system.  I have saved clients of this insurance agency more than $1 million.

I do not try to cheat medical service providers from money which is rightfully theirs. Rather, I just try to protect our senior citizen clients from being cheated by being billed for money that they really don’t owe if Medicare worked properly.  I hope that there are other people helping seniors with this service.  I might be the only one who writes about it, though.

In some of my past articles, I have given my calculations for my estimate that the present Medicare system makes so many mistakes on medical that it causes senior citizens across America to be overbilled by more than $1 billion per year on just the mistakes on Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B. Additional amounts are swindled from seniors because of Medicare errors regarding Medicare Part C and Medicare Part D.

Some politicians in Washington are blindly defending the Medicare system.

It should not be defended.  It should be overhauled. That’s my opinion. I believe my opinion on this should count heavily. After all, for more eight years, I have been working with the system and seeing how it cheats senior citizens by feeding them to collection agencies and collections attorneys for bills that they really don’t owe.

All the help that I gave to this client was free of charge. The owners and managers of this insurance agency care about our senior citizen clients. We know that Medicare makes mistakes and we do our best to protect our clients from being harmed by the mistakes that Medicare makes. Does your insurance agent or agency provide the same high level of service to senior citizens?  If not, why not?

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About Woodrow Wilcox

All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Chronicle.  Woodrow Wilcox is the senior medical bill case worker at Senior Care Insurance Services in Merrillville, Indiana.  Wilcox has helped the clients of that agency save over one million dollars by finding and correcting medical bill errors that were caused by mistakes in the Medicare system.  For other articles by Wilcox, visit publishing websites including www.dakotavoice.com and www.americanclarion.com.

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