The head-cold and flu season is upon us, making it time to lower your risk of disease and illness by receiving a flu shot and pneumonia vaccine – and if you or your spouse is covered by Medicare, you won’t bear the cost and do not require a doctor’s referral.

The flu shot is an annual event, as the flu vaccine is formulated each flu season for the most probable flu virus.

You may only reqire one pneumonia shot in your lifetime, and if you are at least 65, have a chronic illness such as diabetes, or have a heart or lung disease, your risk of contracting pneumonia is higher.

Health care providers suggest you consult your physician about health risks and your need for these shots.

If you are a railroader and covered by Medicare, it is important that billing go to Railroad Medicare and that your Railroad Medicare card is on file.

Providers new to Railroad Medicare and those who have supplied services to Railroad Medicare patients for years may have new staff that might file your claims to the wrong Medicare contractor in error. This can happen when they don’t notice that your Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN) is different from Social Security Administration (SSA) Medicare patients. 

Because Railroad Medicare HICNs vary from the SSA Medicare format, it’s important that your provider’s staff review your card to verify the number prior to billing Railroad Medicare.

Railroad Medicare beneficiaries have the same benefits as Social Security beneficiaries, but only one national carrier — Palmetto GBA Railroad Medicare, which processes all Railroad Medicare Part B claims.

If you are concerned that your provider is having problems submitting your claim correctly, call the Palmetto GBA Beneficiary Contact Center at (800) 833-4455, or (877) 566-3572 for those with hearing impairments.

If you have non-claim specific questions about your coverage with Railroad Medicare, you may visit the “My RR Medicare” page on Facebook at