September 27, 2023

Navigating Original Medicare Denials and Appeals

Author: Jessica Fox

two older men playing chess
Dealing with Original Medicare denials can be frustrating and overwhelming, but it is important to remember that you have options. In this short article, you will gain a basic understanding of Original Medicare denials, and insights into the appeals process. This article outlines the specifics of Original Medicare, also known as Traditional Medicare or Fee-For-Service Medicare and does not apply to any Medicare Advantage Health plans. Let’s dive in!

Understanding Original Medicare Denials

Original Medicare denials can occur for various reasons, including incorrect documentation, lack of medical necessity, or eligibility issues. It is crucial to thoroughly review the Medicare Summary Notice (MSN) to understand the specific reasons behind the denial. This will help you tailor your appeal accordingly.

Original Medicare – Standard Appeal Process

After an initial claim determination, any party involved has the right to appeal Original Medicare coverage and payment decisions, including beneficiaries, providers, suppliers, and their representatives.

Steps to File an Appeal (First Level):
  1. Review the denial thoroughly; you must file your appeal by the date mentioned on the MSN.
  2. Fill out a Redetermination Request Form and send it to the address listed on the MSN or submit a written request to the company that handles claims for Original Medicare found on your MSN. If you choose to send a written request, the following information should be included in the written request:
    • Your name, address, and Medicare number.
    • Circle or list the items and/or services you're requesting a redetermination.
    • Include the dates of services.
    • Include an explanation of why you think the items and/or services should be covered.
    • List the name of your representative if you have appointed one.
    • Any additional information you feel will support your case.
  3. The Medicare Administrative Contractor generally makes a decision within 60 days after receiving your request.

In total, there are five levels of appeals available for Original Medicare:
  • First Level of Appeal: Redetermination by a Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC)
    • Described above in more detail.
  • Second Level of Appeal: Reconsideration by a Qualified Independent Contractor (QIC)
  • Third Level of Appeal: Decision by the Office of Medicare Hearings and Appeals (OMHA)
  • Fourth Level of Appeal: Review by the Medicare Appeals Council
  • Fifth Level of Appeal: Judicial Review in Federal District Court

Tips for Appeal

  1. Keep copies of all correspondence, documents, and receipts related to your claim and appeal. This will help you stay organized and have easy access to important information.
  2. Be persistent and thorough: Follow up promptly on any requested documentation and ensure you meet all deadlines.
  3. Stay calm and polite: Maintain a professional and respectful tone throughout your interactions with Medicare representatives. A courteous approach can go a long way in achieving a positive outcome.

Facing an Original Medicare denial can be daunting, but it is crucial to remember that you have the right to appeal. Understanding the reasons behind denials, filing a strong appeal, and seeking assistance when needed can increase your chances of securing insurance coverage. For additional information, check out our Medicare Reimbursement resource and the resources available on, a website managed by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

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