How to file Medicare appeals, deal with issues, claims, problems, etc.

Please review the brochures, information and links below and on your right.  Appeals are a complex subject and on this page, we are giving you mostly official guides and not our summary or essays.

Medicare Complaint Form on Medicare.Gov

How to file a complaint – Medicare.Gov

Medicare Appeals Publication # 11525 60 pages

Rights & Appeals for Part D Rx – Guide to Rx # 11109

Medicare Rights & Protections  Publication 11534

File complaint against Medicare itself?

Medicare Contact Info  *  More  *  Forms  *

HICAP CA  * Rest of USA *  (Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program) provides free, confidential one-on-one counseling, education, and assistance to individuals and their families on Medicare, Long-Term Care insurance, other health insurance related issues, and planning ahead for Long-Term Care needs. HICAP also provides legal assistance or legal referrals in dealing with Medicare or Long-Term Care insurance related issues.

HICAP counselors are trained in Medi-Cal and Medicare and can help you understand the complex insurance options to find the best fit for you. You can also learn about Medicare or Medi-Cal by attending community presentations or conferences conducted by HICAP counselors.  Medicare & You – see link in side panel

***Sure they might be of help, but how much training, licensing, malpractice coverage  and experience do licensed agents have.  Look at all the information on this site!

Sample Evidence of Coverage

See our  main webpage on Appeals & Grievances

Medicare ​#Appeals  11525

Medicare Appeals


you tube videos

 Filing an appeal with Medicare

#Appeal Guide 
DOI Washington State

how to appeal health care insurance decesion


Navigating the Appeals Process -

Patient Advocate Foundation 

Navigating the Appeals Process


Kantor & Kantor Attorneys

Right to Appeal - if claim denied

You Tube Videos


CA #SmallClaims Court Guide 56 Pages
Gathering the documents you need
CA Small Claims Court Guide


Department of Consumer Affairs - Mediation Request ONLINE

mediation request

How Mediation Works & Paper Mediation Request Form


Appeals?  Grievances?

Check the FULL policy, EOC - Evidence of Coverage here's a specimen and see what the rules are on cancellation and notice.

Then if you do decide to do an appeal, (page 151 in specimen policy) or view our webpage  on appeals, you'll  know what to argue about.

Guide to #Contract Interpretation 

  • Read the Statute – Policy
  • Read the Statute – Policy
  • Read the Statute – Policy
  • Then when you think you understand it, read it again

guide to contract interpretation

Our webpage on

Sibling & Child Pages

Our general section on Appeals & Grievances

Technical & Research Links

Medicare Claims Processing Manual Technical 319 Pages

One hour webinar by an attorney, on how to do claims & appeals – You Tube

42 CFR Part 422, Subpart M – Grievances, Organization Determinations and Appeals

Medicare Claim Processing Manual

59 comments on “Appeals & Grievances Medicare

  1. I filed an appeal several months ago. No one has contacted me.

    If they deny my appeal, how soon should I know?

    I had a vertical sleeve gastrectomy in October.

    Medicare denied my nutrition appointments which are required. Each one was over $350.

    I was told on the website that Medicare would cover nutrition appointments related to weight loss surgery.

    Please advise.

  2. Question

    With all your experience, is there any effective [grievance] agency for me to go to with the HMO Medicare advantage plan [UHC – AARP] I have?

    One of UCLA, Endocrinologists made a huge medication error, from which I am very ill.  UCLA has denied me a second opinion or a higher level of care.


    ***One of the very best places to view your rights and procedures for claim problems, appeals, grievances is in the full EOC – Evidence of Coverage  that you have a right to view before purchasing or when you get it in the enrollment paperwork or shortly thereafter.  Get your  EOC go to Table of Contents – Then look for Appeals, claims procedures, etc. and of course the explanation of benefits and if your issue is actually covered.

    Maybe you have a medical malpractice claim?

  3. Since my orthopedic surgeon has indicated that I need Total Knee Replacement, how can I over-ride the Medicare requirement that I have Cortisone Injections before I can have the surgery?

    All my extensive research shows that Cortisone is very damaging to skin, bones and surrounding tissue, just prolongs the damage to my knee, and means that I will be that much older perhaps necessitating a longer recovery.

    I am also an athlete and I am unable to participate in my numerous sports so waiting for Total Knee Replacement means it will be much harder to re-gain my fitness.

    Cortisone Injections are just another cost for Medicare (and me) when TKR will be the end result!

      • Check this instructional bulletin for your doctor


        CMS recognizes that joint replacement surgery is reserved for patients whose symptoms have not responded to other treatments. To avoid denial of claims for major joint replacement surgery, the medical records should contain enough detailed information to support the determination that major joint replacement surgery was reasonable and necessary for the patient. Progress notes should consist of more than just conclusive statements. Therefore, the medical record of the joint replacement surgical patient must specifically document a complete description of the patient’s historical and clinical findings. Both physicians and hospitals are responsible for ensuring a complete and accurate record.

        joint replacement

      • Unnecessary health care (overutilization, overuse, or overtreatment) is health care provided with a higher volume or cost than is appropriate.[1] In the United States, where health care costs are the highest as a percentage of GDP, overuse was the predominant factor in its expense, accounting for about a third of its health care spending ($750 billion out of $2.6 trillion) in 2012.[2]

        Factors that drive overuse include paying health professionals more to do more (fee-for-service), defensive medicine to protect against litigiousness, and insulation from price sensitivity in instances where the consumer is not the payer—the patient receives goods and services but insurance pays for them (whether public insurance, private, or both).[3] Such factors leave many actors in the system (doctors, patients, pharmaceutical companies, device manufacturers) with inadequate incentive to restrain health care prices or overuse.[1][4] This drives payers, such as national health insurance systems or the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, to focus on medical necessity as a condition for payment. However, the threshold between necessity and lack thereof can often be subjective.

        Overtreatment, in the strict sense, may refer to unnecessary medical interventions, including treatment of a self-limited condition (overdiagnosis) or to extensive treatment for a condition that requires only limited treatment.

        It is economically linked with overmedicalization.

          • So that you know what the other side of the issue, question is. How will you argue, if you don’t know the opponents position and where they are coming from? See page 8 of a Patient’s Guide to Navigating the Appeals Process – Identify.

            Things to submit with your appeal

            n A letter of support from your treating provider indicating the medical reasons that the requested service should be approved
            n Notes from your treating physician that provide information on the medical care provided to you including how you responded to treatment
            n The results of any relevant tests or procedures related to the requested service
            n Any current medical literature or studies documenting the medical effectiveness of the requested services for experimental or investigational treatments
            n Peer reviewed articles from your doctor’s professional journals or magazines that support the treatment being recommended
            n Your own personal narrative or the narrative of an authorized representative describing the need for the requested service

      • This looks like the clinical bulletin for Medicare

        The most common reason for total knee replacement surgery is arthritis of the knee joint. Types of arthritis include
        osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and traumatic arthritis (arthritis which occurs as a result of injury). This arthritis
        causes a severe limitation in the activities of daily living, including difficulty with walking, squatting, and climbing
        stairs. Pain is typically most severe with activity and patients often have difficulty getting mobilized when seated for
        a long time. Other findings include chronic knee inflammation or swelling not relieved by rest, knee stiffness, lack of
        pain relief after taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications and failure to achieve symptom improvement
        with other conservative therapies such as steroid injections and physical therapy. Osteonecrosis and malignancy are
        additional reasons to proceed with total knee replacement surgery. The goal of total knee replacement surgery is to
        relieve pain and improve or increase patient function.

        Total knee replacement surgery will be considered medically necessary when one or more of the following criteria are met:

        Unsuccessful history of appropriate conservative therapy (non-surgical medical management) that is clearly addressed in the pre procedure medical record. Non surgical medical management is usually implemented for 3 months or more to assess effectiveness. Conservative treatment as clinically appropriate for the patient’s current episode of care typically include one or more of the following:

        anti inflammatory medications,


        flexibility and muscle strengthening exercises,

        supervised physical therapy [Activities of daily living (ADLs) diminished despite completing a plan of care],

        activity restrictions as is reasonable,

        assistive device use,

        weight reduction as appropriate, therapeutic injections into the knee as appropriate.

        Documentation Requirements

        The medical record must contain documentation that fully supports the medical necessity and justification of the
        procedure performed.

      • Here are just 5 of MANY recent reports from the medical community showing that Cortisone DOES NOT FIX MY KNEE–it only masks pain and may cause damage!

        *Harvard Medical School, Cortisone Report, Apr. 1, 2019

        *WebMD, “Disadvantages of Cortisone Injections.”

        *”Cortisone Injection Risks and Side Effects,” Emmanuel Konstantakos, MD Peer Reviewed, 2016, Arthritis Health

        *Dr. McAlindon. “We now know that these injections bring no long-term benefit, and may, in fact, do more harm than good by accelerating damage to the cartilage.”
        This study was supported by the NIH’s NIAMS (R01-AR051361) and National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences

        *Repeated corticosteroid injections to the joint may speed cartilage degeneration.
        Credit Timothy E. McAlindon, M.D., M.P.H., of Tufts Medical Center, Boston.

        • Please send the actual links… We are not getting compensated to help you. Please don’t make us spend an hour to find these papers. I did not see ANY requirement in the clinical bulletin or the Major Joint Replacement booklet requiring cortisone.

          What complications might there be from knee replacement?

          • Cortisone was just the first recommendation by my physician. But I see from the Medicare Documents that it CAN BE ONE OF MANY. I’ve had several other treatments and none have worked of course, you can’t replace bone or cartilage once it’s gone. So I will argue that those suggested by Medicare have not worked and my doc agrees, and we’ll go from there.

      • I don’t have a grievance yet–so will see how my Appeal for a TKR now goes, since I’ve met the qualifications of “conservative treatments” over the course of the last 2-3 years!!!

        • We need to use the exact proper terms.

          Grievance—A complaint about the way your Medicare health plan or Medicare drug plan is giving care. For example, you may file a grievance if you have a problem calling the plan or if you’re unhappy with the way a staff person at the plan has behaved towards you. However, if you have a complaint about a plan’s refusal to cover a service, supply, or prescription, you file an appeal.

          Appeal—An appeal is the action you can take if you disagree with a coverage or payment decision made by Medicare, your Medicare health plan, or your Medicare Prescription Drug Plan. You can appeal if Medicare or your plan denies one of these:
          Your request for a health care service, supply, item, or prescription drug that you think you should be able to get
          ■ Your request for payment for a health care service, supply, item, or prescription drug you already got
          ■ Your request to change the amount you must pay for a health care service, supply, item or prescription drug
          You can also appeal if Medicare or your plan stops providing or paying for all or part of a health care service, supply, item, or prescription drug you think you still need.

      • Will see how my Appeal for a TKR now goes, since I’ve met the qualifications of “conservative treatments” over the course of the last 2-3 years!!!

        • Please when using technical terms, define them and provide a URL.

          CMS recognizes that joint replacement surgery is reserved for patients whose symptoms have not responded to conservative treatments.

          Pre-surgical physical therapy progress notes are important in demonstrating how the patient has progressively worsened over a period of time. Noting that the patient has “failed conservative therapies” in the history and physical is a conclusive statement and should be supported by other specific, objective information in the patient’s medical record.


          One or more of the below conservative treatments have been tried and failed for 3 months or
          more except in special circumstances where delay of definitive care is not appropriate:
          • Anti-inflammatory medication:
          Duration of treatment
          • Analgesic
          • Home exercise: Duration of treatment
          • Physical therapy: Duration of treatment
          • Use of cane or walker: Duration of treatment
          • Weight loss: Duration of treatment
          • Brace: Duration of treatment
          • Cortisone shot(s): Duration of treatment
          • Visco-supplementation: Duration of treatment


          A summary of the non-operative, conservative treatment(s) that have been tried and have been unsuccessful in managing the patient’s condition;


          • A listing, description and outcomes of failed non-surgical treatments, such as:
          – Trial of medications (for example, Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)).
          – Weight loss.
          – Physical therapy.
          – Intra-articular injections.
          – Braces, orthotics or assistive devices.
          – Physical Therapy and/or home exercise plans.
          – Assistive devices (for example, cane, walker, braces (specify type of brace), and orthotics)

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