October 1, 2014

Contacting Railroad Medicare when a beneficiary dies

Palmetto GBA logoHandling the affairs of a deceased family member can be a difficult task. But like estate planning, it’s important to prepare in advance.

Medicare law prevents contractors from disclosing information and updating records for a deceased beneficiary without appropriate documentation, according to Palmetto GBA, the official Railroad Medicare agent.

Authorization documents that are acceptable for persons living (such as a power of attorney) are not valid after the date of death. Any authorization that was on file with Medicare prior to the beneficiary’s death becomes invalid at the time of death.

Palmetto gave examples of documentation that are valid after death including:

  • Executor/executrix papers, with a court stamp and a judge’s/clerk of court’s signature
  • Next of kin attested by court documents, with a court stamp and a judge’s/clerk of court’s signature
  • Letter of testamentary or administration, with a court stamp and judge’s/clerk of court’s signature
  • Personal representative papers with a court stamp and judge’s/clerk of court’s signature

Medicare does not allow contractors to accept copies of wills or other legal documentation drawn up prior to the beneficiary’s death.

If Palmetto GBA does not have your legal papers on file, you must fax or mail them to Railroad Medicare in order for them to release or update information related to the deceased beneficiary.

When sending your documents to Palmetto GBA, be sure to include the beneficiary’s name, health insurance claim number, the beneficiary’s date of birth and a description of your relationship to the beneficiary.

Those papers can be faxed to (803) 264-9844, or mailed to the following address:

Palmetto GBA – Railroad Medicare
P.O. Box 10066
Augusta, GA 30999-0001

If you do not have a legal document that indicates your authority to make a request for information, our Palmetto’s customer service representatives will be limited in what information they can release or discuss.

If you have received a Medicare Summary Notice (MSN), Palmetto can discuss the claims on that notice. If you have not received an MSN, a representative can order an MSN to be sent to the beneficiary’s address. Their representatives can also tell you whether or not we have received or processed a claim for a specific date of service.

Legal documentation is also required to permanently update a deceased beneficiary’s address. If you need to update the beneficiary’s address and don’t have court papers naming you as the estate representative, Railroad Medicare will temporarily update the address for a period of 12 months.

A change of address form is available on Palmetto’s website at www.PalmettoGBA.com/rr/me called “Railroad Medicare Deceased Beneficiary Address Change Form.” 

For help, please call Palmetto’s Beneficiary Contact Center at (800) 833-4455 or TTY at (877) 566-3572 for the hearing impaired between 8:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. EST.

Palmetto also encourages you to: