Medicare online account gets deactivated upon death notification. Anyone else experience this? - AgingCare.com

Medicare online account gets deactivated upon death notification. Anyone else experience this?

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I am aghast, my mom died in June, and I have been getting lots of bills from her various doctors. Until this week, I was able to log onto mom's "my medicare.gov" account, and see which claims had been submitted, which were paid, how much she might owe, etc. This was always very helpful for me to watch over her medical bills.
Well, today I got a big surprise. They have deactivated her account! I thought maybe I had wrong password, so I dug around into how to reset and ended up on a chat session with medicare. The chat person told me, once they are notified of a death, that person's online access is PERMANENTLY de-activated!!
The only way for me to find out about her unpaid bills, now, is to wait for a bill from doctors or hospital or ambulance vendors. This is very inconvenient.
The medicare chat person said, this is all because of the HIPAA law, and there is absolutely no way around it. They also said I can call the 800 number with my questions about specific bills.....but that is not quite the same as being able to see a complete list of what is in process, what is going to be billed.
I am really wondering why this has to be this way. Has anyone else had the same experience?

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SamlamW That must be the town where I live
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Yes Mallory - that thought ran through my mind as well. Especially because elderly folks have a tendency to be afraid of Collections and assume that 'bills should be paid'. I think some of it is mind-set that comes with years of dealing with bureaucratic bs and losing. They're also afraid of angering their physicians. :/ I recently ran into (what I consider) a horrific situation. I found that a retired couple in Northern CA knew that their doctor was fraudulently billing Medicare for services that had not been performed. When they asked about it - the office told them that the reimbursement level for M/C is so low that the office has to bill for extra services to be decently compensated. They were afraid to say anything for fear of losing their doctor in an area (retired community) where there is already a shortage of doctors.
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Well, I was shocked to get his last SS check. I am told they will put a request for that payment to be reversed. That could cause problems if you have written checks. I think it is heartless of the government to not pay the check to a person who died in the last 5 days of the month. I could see it if they died within the first 5 days of the month. Good Lord, what I am going through now.

Now I am told, the one son and stepdaughter may contest the Will. GREAT. Their father would be furious. That will cost me. When they called me a day after he passed and asked for the Will, I knew they had no concern except for money from their dad. Even though they will not get it, if they have a good attorney they can freeze my bank accounts. That is all I needed today. I picked up his ashes today. That is difficult. But, I also had some of his curly hair cut and put in a heart shaped wooded box. And I have a key chain item to add to my keys with his ashes in that item. I feel so loved just having these things. He was a remarkable handsome strong German man. I was such a lucky and Blessed women. There are a lot of surprises out there you all have to face when your loved one passes. Mostly the government who wants a good chunk. I am hating or government at this point.
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Well I found 3 bills of my mom's where they either had not billed Medicare, or they hadn't billed the supplemental insurance, and its really so annoying that they mess up the bills! ! I bet there are lots of seniors out there who don't even notice the bills weren't processed correctly and maybe they just pay it, when they didn't have to.
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Yes, I had problem with billing, actually went to collections and it was their error. Told the collector I paid what the statement said. She told me to read my medicare statement. I did, the provider posted payment wrong. TG I worked collections and figured out what the did.
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No phone#? It's because they know they're messed up and don't want people calling them. This has gotten so bad around the country that the 3 major credit reporting agencies recently accepted a new policy whereby they won't let medical billings affect credit ratings! What does THAT tell you? :) Last year (I've been handling mom's EOB's during the caregiving years) one of the non-cooperative providers sent a bill to Collections.

I was a little amused that there was no verbage on the Notice indicating a Right to Contest. But I simply enclosed a copy of the previous correspondence to the provider along with a notation that I was Contesting the amount owed, within 30 days as stipulated by law, because the provider did not bill the secondary insurance.

It's sad how complicated things have become. I actually picked up a few Certified Mail stickers from the post office so I could have them at the ready.
When someone has to sign for something - it gets their attention.
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Yeah, I am in for a LONG wait. I just got another bill from a provider, Medicare had paid their bit, but nothing else appeared after that. I tried to call the provider---they have no phone number!!! just a place to mail your payment.
So I googled them, got a Contact Me form (still NO PHONE) for their corporate office and filled that out. Then I waited over the weekend for a reply....today I do get a reply, "Thank you for Contacting us...." and a few hours later, a Real Person emails me, I need more details. Still No Phone. I email all the details and ask for a phone, please. a few hours more, and they email me back, you have to call so & so at this number, and give all your details all over again.
What ever happened to the days when we could just call a number, and they could pull up the account on the screen, and tell us a straight answer, even if we were on hold for 10 mins, that is a lot quicker than this having to google them, fill out a Contact Me form, wade thru several emails before a Real Person replies, and then get shifted over to another office altogether?
Why not just put a phone number on the bill!!! It's because of all the budget cuts, they don't want anyone to bother them with phone calls. Just crank out paper bills and hope nobody has a question.
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Oh Mallory - Medicare has its rules and it's up to us to live with them. Mom passed in May and I know what you're going through. All the providers have their own unique little billing systems in their own hieroglyphics, but if Medicare has been billed - the invoices should indicate the Medicare payment (Adjustment). Some providers start spitting out bills to the family at the same time they bill MC.
I had gotten to the point where I waited for the 60 day reminder bills before even considering them for review.

Try not to stress over it. Unfortunately, MC only sends out paper EOB's on a quarterly basis - so you'll have a wait. I particularly loved the one that came last Christmas; 30 pages to sort thru and match up with bills.

My problem has been that MC doesn't always forward the bill to the secondary insurance like they're supposed to. Then I get a bill for the balance. I have to send it back with a copy of the death cert along with a copy of her secondary insurance info and a note scribbled on the invoice asking them to bill the secondary. And just when you think you've got it handled, a provider changes billing services and they start spitting out old bills because the cvs file in the system didn't carry over the data correctly - It's a mess. Hang in there.
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I guess they don't consider a family member maybe paying bills. I get a statement from Medicare telling me what they paid. Then I get statements from my supplemental showing what medicare paid and what the supplemental paid showing a balance I maybe billed for. These both come before the doctor bill. I then matchup to make sure the totals match. The only prroblem I've had is when the doctor's office has applied my payment wrong. Since I worked accts receivable I can usually figure out what they did. I guess when ur used to one way its hard to change.
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I'm sorry people have to lose their SS or VA benefits....but that discussion might be better to pose as an entirely new Question(s)? my concern in my original Topic was why Medicare ONLINE records all of a sudden disappear. Makes it harder (well, different, is maybe all) to match up the payments etc. I have gotten 3 bills this week from doctors/labs/etc and not all of them in the same billing format, so I can't always tell if they ever billed Medicare in the first place. I would rather simply go online to Medicare online and SEE if they were billed. But now that mom's account there has disappeared, I have to call each doctor/lab/etc during their business hours (and not over their lunch hour) and sit on hold, explain it all.....grrr....it is so much easier to just be able to SEE it on my screen.
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