Medicare requires a specific form or it won't provide information

Power of Attorney is Not Enough for Medicare

By Stephen J. Silverberg
New York Elder Law Attorney

A power of attorney is usually enough to take charge of a loved one’s financial and medical matters when they become incapacitated. But with Medicare, you need more than a POA.  Many people learn this the hard way. It is a problem that can be easily solved and will save you and your loved ones a great deal of trouble.

A refresher:

  • A Financial Power of Attorney (POA) allows you to name a person handle your financial and legal affairs if you are incapacitated.
  • The Medical POA allows the named person to make critical medical decisions on your behalf.
  • You must sign both of these documents while you are of sound mind and able to decide on your own.

Medicare does not care about your POAs. Medicare requires you to use its form to give a family member permission to discuss your condition, treatments, coverage issues, manage claims, and file appeals. Without it, Medicare will not speak to a family member – even a spouse. You need to do this at once if you or your loved one has enrolled in Medicare. The form is available online (

And there’s more.  You will need separate authorizations for any other Medicare benefits, including Medicare Advantage, Part D prescription drugs, and Medicare supplement plans. It is further complicated since they all have separate authorization forms. Although they do the same thing, they often have different names. The forms are needed to authorize a personal representative to speak with plan administrators about claims and coverage.

These are challenging times when we don’t know what’s coming next. We can’t stop everything, but we can prepare.


About the Author
Stephen J. Silverberg is nationally recognized as a leader in the areas of estate planning, estate administration, asset preservation planning, and elder law. He is a past president of the prestigious National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA), and a founding member and past president of the New York State chapter of NAELA.