As a service representative for the Social Security Administration, every day I see people come into our field office who think that we are Medicare. Sure, we do limited things for Medicare- since they don't have offices for public service-such as part B applications and part D subsidy applications, however, the majority of the people I see that think that we are Medicare come in because they have detailed and complex issues to address with Medicare. They have billing issues or questions we don't know the answers to. After spending several precious moments explaining to them that "we are not Medicare" and that "you must contact Medicare for this issue" and providing them with the 800 number, they are upset and sometimes enraged that Medicare does not have an office. The majority are older individuals and detest the thought of trying to get someone on an 800 number in an unknown place for help. They usually spend the next few moments letting me know how ridiculous it is that the largest health insurance agency in the U.S. and perhaps the world does not have an office (I do agree).
My suggestion will save countless hours for the Social Security Administration-which means financial savings as well-and it will give a better public appearance of Medicare and Social Security. It will make the American people happy and provide better service to them. It would give local governments, organizations, and community outreach representatives more access to the Medicare agency also.
Let's take some Medicare employees from behind the telephone and put them in Social Security field offices across the U.S. This would not mean we have to hire additional Medicare employees. We have empty desk and windows in our office and many offices are the same way. When new hires are made within Medicare, they will go to field offices, also many current Medicare phone employees can be given the option to transfer to field offices. This does not mean a social security field office needs the same amount of Medicare employees as SS employees. Our office of 25 would benefit greatly with 1 or 2 Medicare employees. In addition, Social Security employees could be trained over time to handle more complex Medicare issues for the public. This would cost little or no money to implement. No Medicare offices need to be built. No additional Medicare employees would need to be hired (but could be). The VA, SSA, USDA, FDA, IRS, and so many other government agencies have public contact offices, why not provide a contact office for perhaps the most crucial government agency of all, Medicare?
The American public deserve it. I am confident the overwhelming majority of Medicare recipients and Social Security field office employees would agree.