When speaking to your insurance company/plan, you may find that you do not have all the documents you need in front of you, or that you need to call back to get more information. Here are three tips to help you communicate effectively with your insurance company.

  1. Do everything you can to have the documents and information you need before you pick up the phone.
    • While talking to a representative from your plan, you may need:
      • Your name and address
      • Your date of birth
      • Your insurance policy number (and/or other information from your insurance card)
      • Your Social Security number
      • A Medicare Summary Notice (MSN) if you have Original Medicare, or an Explanation of Benefits (EOB)if you have a Medicare Advantage Plan
      • Any bills you have received, including the name and address of the entity that sent it, the total cost of the bill, the name of the provider and date of service, and the diagnosis code on the bill
      • A list of questions you want to ask
    • If possible, you should carefully read any documents you received from the insurance company before calling.
  2. Record information you receive during the conversation.
    • Always write down the name and telephone extension of the plan representative handling your call. If someone is unable or unwilling to help you, ask to speak to a supervisor.
    • Take notes, including the date and time of the call, the information you are given, and what you were told to do next.
    • You may also want a trusted individual to be on the call with you to take notes and ask questions.
  3. Submit information immediately.
    • If the insurance representative asks you to send something, do it as soon as you can. This will help ensure that the process moves smoothly. If you cannot act immediately, ask if there is a deadline for submission. For instance, for appeals of denials of care, deadlines for submission of materials are included on notices from Medicare or your plan.
    • Keep a copy of materials sent in the mail. In some cases, you may want to send materials via certified or registered mail.

Remember: Be patient! You may have to spend time on hold or navigating automated telephone menus before you can speak to a representative.