I just helped my mother, age 89, deal with her Medicare HMO. Her primary care doctor referred her to a specialist for a nerve conduction study to see if she was a candidate for carpal tunnel surgery. The office staff did not realize that they were required to get prior authorization for that procedure and the HMO denied coverage for the procedure.
My mother got a bill for over $2000. I helped her go through the grievance process to ensure she met the deadlines and used language that would help her case. I argued that the elderly do not fully understand all the fine print in their insurance contracts, and they rely on their primary care doctor to send in the proper forms and get care authorized for them. The HMO reversed its decision and paid the claim.