Know your rights

Your personal information should always be accessible to you and/or your legal representative.  It is the law that you and/or your legal representative be able to view and obtain copies of your personal health data. Your personal health information may be sent to third parties upon your request. The third party may be a family member, a doctor, other health care provider, researcher, mobile app (if used to manage your personal health information). The type of information you can obtain includes health information, billing, claims, health plan enrollments, case management, and any other information which doctors and providers use to make determinations about you.

 

Most entities will require that you submit your request for medical records in writing. A fee may also be required, especially if you are asking for hard copies. If a fee is required, you should be notified by your provider or plan administrator. If they fail to notify you, ask about their fees. You can only be charged for actual labor of making copies, cost of materials, and shipping costs, if applicable. There should be zero cost for viewing electronic records. The should also be no cost if your provider is providing your personal medical information by electronic means, such as an e-mail of pdf document.

 

If you make a request for your personal medical information, you have the right to receive that information in a timely manner. However, timely can mean that it takes up to thirty (30) days. Doesn’t seem very timely, does it?

 

Medicare Advantage Plans must abide by strict guidelines when promoting their health plans. Generally, enrollments are done in person, not over the phone. Plans cannot ask for your credit card or for your personal banking information.  However, if you are already a member of a plan, and that plan calls you, then asking for your credit card and/or bank information id permitted.

 

Medicare and its subscribers are subjected to fraud and abuse. To bring awareness and empowerment to people, the Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) Program was created. SMPs are active in every state, including the District of Columbia, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. To obtain personalized counseling, to volunteer, or to know  about community events, you may contact your local SMP.

For a full list of your rights as a medicare recipient visit https://www.medicare.gov/.