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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Working with Medicare

Blog posting provided by Michael Snowdon, CFP

Most seniors use Medicare to handle a large portion of their medical expenses. Unfortunately, Medicare is not always the easiest to work with. Do something wrong and you may find yourself in bureaucratic limbo. Especially when you're not used to managing financial matters, handling these issues can be overwhelming.

Thankfully, there are some resources available to help.

First, Medicare has a website and it's a pretty good one: has a lot of useful information. One indispensible reference is Medicare and You ( This is a good starting place to determine potential benefits. For a more personalized version of your benefits, create an account on You will then be able to see your benefits, check on claims, look for medical providers and see services that are available to you.

You may prefer to talk with a real person instead of looking on the web. The Medicare helpline number is 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). You can order Medicare publications, listen to recorded questions and answers, as well as talk with someone about your Medicare questions.

Sometimes you may need extra help in getting a claim handled. That's where a patient advocate may come in handy. Patient advocates can help address issues related to health care, medical debts, insurance claims and similar concerns. Many states and hospitals have patient advocates. There is also a national Patient Advocate Foundation that may be able to provide help. You can contact them on the web at: or by phone at 1-800-532-5274.

Michael Snowdon, CFP, President
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