If Extend Health gives you bad advice you can complain to Medicare that you were misled. Extend Health is acting as the insurance agent for the plan and is subject to Medicare law. That's why they record conversations. HOWEVER, it is much more effective to file a Medicare complaint if the actual provider gives you bad information. REMINDER - IBM plays no role in this complaint process. There is no point calling the IBM service center if something goes wrong.
If it happens - and you can prove it - you can ask Medicare for a special enrollment period to switch plans. No matter who you talk to --- TAKE NAMES, DATES and NOTES about the conversation so that you have EVIDENCE of being misled. If you need to file a complaint you just call 1-800-MEDICARE and tell them you want a special enrollment to switch plans because the information you got about the plan was wrong. They will then take you through the process. But, that is onerous. It is much easier just to double check before you enroll.
There are a couple of ways to verify that Extend Health is providing accurate information.
- Go to www.medicare.gov and look at the plan description for a Medicare Advantage medical plan and/or drug insurance plan you are interested in using. Do both by using plan finder. When you do, you enter the drugs you take and Medicare will provide information about whether the plan does or doesn't covers your drugs. Take print outs of the plan information.
- No matter what the answers are for step one - CALL THE INSURANCE PLAN. The plans offered by Extend Health are STANDARD insurance plans offered in the open market. For example, if you are choosing an AARP United Healthcare Medicare Advantage PPO plan through Extend Health - then that SAME plan will show up on www.medicare.gov in your zip code. There will be phone numbers associated with the plans. Verify the information by calling the medical plan or the drug plan to confirm you are getting the coverage you think you are getting. There is one exception - for Aetna PPO a special deal was arranged to allow the insurance company to continue to offer the plan for two more years to retirees already enrolled in the plan in 2013. That plan will not show up in medicare.gov. I believe Aetna is directly mailing plan information to enrollees.
The ONLY time you can be sure you are getting exactly what is being described by a plan is if you are buying a medigap supplemental plan for Original Medicare. By law, those plans must provide the coverage that is associated with the letter of the plan. Ergo, all N plans are the same, all F plans are the same, all C plans are the same and so on.