December 21, 2010

Gillibrand Helps Cut Red Tape For Schenectady Senior, Fixes Medicare Problem

69 Year-Old Senior Faced $2,000 in Unpaid Health Care Bills

Schenectady, NY – After Medicare failed to update Schenectady senior’s health care plan for approximately ten months, leaving the elderly with thousands of dollars in delinquent medical bills, Senator Gillibrand worked to breakdown the bureaucratic obstacles and ensured that all of his doctor payments were processed and paid for.  

Paul Harris, 69 year-old Schenectady senior, said, “We are so grateful for Senator Gillibrand’s help to finally clear up this Medicare problem. Our efforts to set my Medicare records straight were going absolutely nowhere. Thanks to the Senator, I am now able to receive medical care without worrying about payments falling by the wayside.”

Senator Gillibrand said, “The Harris family should not carry the burden of delinquent medical costs that Medicare is responsible for. I am relieved that Mr. Harris’ payments were finally fixed.”

Mr. Harris’ health care plan was covered by his wife Diane Harris, 59, until she retired as a New York state employee in November 2009. Shortly after, the Harrises discovered through doctor’s billing offices that Mrs. Harris needed to let their health providers know that her husband’s primary and secondary health insurers have switched; Medicare would now be Mr. Harris’ primary insurer while Capital District Physicians Health Plan (CDPHP) would serve as Mr. Harris’ secondary insurer.

Mr. Harris makes monthly visits to his cardiologist and podiatrist in order to regularly monitor his health condition. Having undergone major operations and survived prostate cancer, the 69 year-old’s needed visits could not be delayed. Mr. Harris had an abdominal aorta aneurysm repair and triple bypass heart surgery in 1996, and survived prostate cancer in 2004.

Under Mr. Harris’ new health plan, Medicare would foot the majority of Mr. Harris’ doctor payments. Since Medicare did not update their status, however, doctors informed the Schenectady senior that their claims were denied, resulting in at least $2,000 in unpaid medical bills between March and August 2010.

Since January 2010, Mrs. Harris contacted Medicare at least five times over many months but no changes to her husband’s health care plan were made. After reaching out to Senator Gillibrand’s office for help in September, Senator Gillibrand inquired with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Last month, Medicare informed Mr. Harris that his health care plan has been updated and that his doctors’ claims were all processed and paid for.