If you don’t think you’re getting high-quality care, you have the right to file a complaint.
When you’re unhappy with the quality of your health care, it’s often useful to talk about your concerns with whoever gave you the care. But, if you don’t want to talk to that person or need more help, you can file a complaint.
How you file a complaint depends on what or who it’s about. Each health or drug plan has its own rules for filing complaints, so check out the pages below depending on what type of complaint you have:
Once you file a complaint with your plan, if you still need help, call 1-800-MEDICARE.
If you’ve contacted 1-800-MEDICARE about a Medicare complaint and still need help, ask the 1-800-MEDICARE representative to send your complaint to the Medicare Beneficiary Ombudsman. The Ombudsman staff helps make sure your complaint is resolved.
You can also let us know if you disagree with a coverage or payment decision made by Medicare, your Medicare health plan, or Medicare Prescription Drug Plan by filing an appeal.
For other kinds of Medicare-related complaints, you can call your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) for free, personalized help.
Know that you have the right to get quality care. Also know you have the right to complain if you don’t.
Keep an eye on your mailbox—Medicare is sending new cards with new Medicare numbers to people with Medicare. Mailing has started in certain states and will continue over the next few months nationwide. Your new Medicare card will include a new number unique to you, instead of your Social Security Number. This will help to protect you against identity fraud.
If you want to know when you’ll get your new card, visit Medicare.gov/NewCard and sign up to get email alerts from Medicare. We’ll send you an email when cards start mailing in your state, and we’ll also email you about other important Medicare topics.
You can also sign in to your MyMedicare.gov account and see when Medicare mailed your new card. If you don’t have a MyMedicare.gov account yet, visit MyMedicare.gov to create one. Once your new card has mailed, you can sign in anytime to see your new Medicare Number or print a copy of your card.
Remember that mailing takes time, so you might get your card at a different time than friends or neighbors in your area.
Once you get your new Medicare card:
- Destroy your old Medicare card. Make sure you destroy your old card so no one can get your personal information.
- Start using your new Medicare card right away! Your doctors, other health care providers and facilities know that it’s coming, so carry it with you when you need care. Your Medicare coverage and benefits will stay the same.
- Keep your other plan cards. If you’re in a Medicare Advantage Plan (like an HMO or PPO) or a Medicare Drug Plan, keep using that Plan ID card whenever you need care or prescriptions. However, you should carry your new Medicare card too — you may be asked to show it.
- Protect your Medicare Number just like your credit cards. Only give your new Medicare number to doctors, pharmacists, other health care providers, your insurer, or people you trust to work with Medicare on your behalf.
Your privacy is very important. That’s why we have important safeguards in place to protect the information you give us when you visit Medicare.gov. We’ve added a tool that lets you easily control some of the information we may collect from you.
When you visit Medicare.gov, we use common web tools to collect information—things like:
- What websites you came from
- What Medicare.gov pages you visit
- How much time you spend on Medicare.gov
- What page you’re on when you leave Medicare.gov
We use this information to help us improve Medicare.gov and our outreach to people with Medicare.
You can decide whether you want us to collect this information during your visits to Medicare.gov. Our new Privacy Manager lets you easily adjust your settings to match your comfort level.
To view or change your privacy settings, visit Medicare.gov, and select “Privacy settings” at the bottom of the page. Here’s what it looks like:
You can choose “on” or “off” for tracking certain types of information about your Medicare.gov visits, like advertising or social media. No matter what you choose, you’ll still have access to everything on Medicare.gov. But, if you choose “off,” we won’t use your visit to:
- Improve Medicare.gov to make it more useful for visitors
- Improve our public education and outreach through digital advertising
Each day, you make important choices about your finances, health, privacy, and more.
During National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW), March 4–8, 2018, non-profit organizations and government agencies can help you take advantage of your rights and make better-informed choices.
Here are 5 things you can do to become an informed Medicare consumer:
- Know your rights. As a person with Medicare, you have certain rights and protections designed to help protect you and make sure you get the health care services the law says you can get.
- Protect your identity. Identity theft happens when someone uses your personal information without your consent to commit fraud or other crimes. Keep information like your Social Security Number, bank account numbers and Medicare Number safe. To help protect you from identity fraud, starting in April 2018, Medicare will mail new Medicare cards to all people with Medicare. Your new card will have a new Medicare Number that’s unique to you. Get more information on how to protect yourself from identity theft.
- Help fight Medicare fraud. Medicare fraud takes money from the Medicare program each year, which means higher health care costs for you. Learn how to report fraud.
- Get involved with other seniors with the Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP). The SMP educates and empowers people with Medicare to take an active role in detecting and preventing health care fraud and abuse.
- Make informed Medicare choices. Each year during the fall Open Enrollment Period (October 15–December 7), review your plan to make sure it will meet your needs for the next year. If you’re not satisfied with your current plan, you can switch during the Open Enrollment Period.
Visit NCPW.gov to learn more about the campaign, see which agencies and organizations are able to help you, and to find out if there are any activities happening in your area. Also, check out our videos for tips on preventing Medicare fraud.
Starting in April 2018, Medicare will mail new Medicare cards to all people with Medicare, to help protect you from identity fraud. Fraudsters are always looking for ways to get your Social Security Number so we’re removing Social Security Numbers from all Medicare cards to make them safer.
Your new card will have a new Medicare Number that’s unique to you. The new card will help protect your identity and keep your personal information more secure. Your Medicare coverage and benefits stay the same.
And there’s more good news—Medicare will automatically mail your new card at no cost to the address you have on file with Social Security. There’s nothing you need to do! If you need to update your official mailing address, visit your online my Social Security account.
Once you get your new Medicare card, take these 3 steps to make it harder for someone to steal your information and identity:
- Destroy your old Medicare card right away.
- Use your new card. Doctors, other health care providers, and plans approved by Medicare know that Medicare is replacing the old cards. They are ready to accept your new card when you need care.
- Beware of people contacting you about your new Medicare card and asking you for your Medicare Number, personal information, or to pay a fee for your new card. Treat your Medicare Number like you treat your Social Security or credit card numbers. Remember, Medicare will never contact you uninvited to ask for your personal information.
For more information about your new Medicare card, visit go.medicare.gov/newcard. You can also visit Medicare.gov for tips to prevent Medicare fraud.
Are you a bargain hunter? Always looking for the best deal or ready for the next best thing? If someone offered you a state-of-the-art arthritis kit and said Medicare would cover it, would you be interested? There are lots of benefits that come with aging, and discounts are one of them. But discounts and deals that sound too good to be true are one way that fraudsters may try to steal your identity.
When someone steals or unlawfully uses personal information like your Social Security number or your Medicare number, it’s called identity theft. The number of identity theft victims age 65 or older increased from 2.1 million in 2012 to 2.6 million in 2014. In fact, thieves consider your Medicare number and other protected health information more valuable than credit card information because people can reuse them to bill Medicare for services that you didn’t get. When people steal your identity and bill Medicare for items or services you didn’t get, it drives up costs for everyone.
At Medicare, we’re fighting health care fraud, waste, and abuse every day. An important part of that is preventing identity theft. Right now, your Medicare number is based on a Social Security number—yours or someone else’s. Starting in April 2018, we’re replacing the Social Security-based Medicare number with a new Medicare number, and will mail you a new Medicare card with your new number. You don’t have to do anything to get your new card and new number. And we’ll NEVER call you and ask for personal information for you to get your new card.
Remember, the first and best line of defense against fraud is you. You can help fight Medicare fraud in 2 simple steps:
- Protect your Medicare number—treat it like you treat your credit card number.
- Check your Medicare statement for errors, like equipment or services you never got.
Learn more about how you can fight Medicare fraud. And find out how to spot, report, and stop fraud, and protect yourself from identity theft with help from the Senior Medicare Patrol.
If you or a loved one has kidney problems requiring dialysis, often known as End-stage Renal Disease (ESRD), you know finding the right care can be a challenge. Dialysis centers can vary in the quality of care and services they provide, so it’s important to understand the differences in dialysis centers in your area before you decide where to go for care. If you’re already on dialysis, it’s also important to understand the quality of care that your dialysis center delivers. Dialysis Facility Compare lets you search for dialysis centers, compare them side by side, and find the right one for you.
In response to feedback from ESRD dialysis patients and experts in kidney care, we’ve recently added more information to the Dialysis Facility Compare website, including information about patients’ experiences with dialysis centers. Now you can see how patients responded to a survey that asked questions about their dialysis center, their kidney doctor, and the center’s staff.
“The changes we’ve made to the Dialysis Facility Compare website are in direct response to the important feedback we received from patients and families, like you, about what’s most important in selecting your dialysis facility,” said Kate Goodrich, M.D., director of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Center for Clinical Standards and Quality. “We remain committed to seeking and incorporating input from all stakeholders, but especially patients, on an ongoing basis so that we can continually improve our Compare sites.”
Dialysis Facility Compare also features:
- A star rating for each dialysis center that now reflects changes in quality for each center, from one year to the next.
- Two new quality measures—one that tells you how often patients develop bloodstream infections at each center, and another that tells you how well the center manages peritoneal dialysis on children.
- An improved website that makes it easier to find the information you’re looking for, and makes complex quality information easier to understand.
Take control of your dialysis care today. Visit Dialysis Facility Compare and find the dialysis center that’s right for you.
Medicare also offers a number of other Compare websites that can help you select providers across your care needs, including Nursing Home Compare, Physician Compare, Hospital Compare, and Home Health Compare. Visit these websites to learn more about our efforts to make health care quality information more transparent.