The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) launched a new app on Jan. 28 that gives consumers a modernized Medicare experience with direct access on a mobile device to some of the most-used content on Medicare.gov.
The new “What’s Covered” app lets people with Original Medicare, caregivers and others quickly see whether Medicare covers a specific medical item or service. Consumers can now use their mobile device to more easily get accurate, consistent Original Medicare coverage information in the doctor’s office, the hospital, or anywhere else they use their mobile device. In addition to the “What’s Covered” app, through Blue Button 2.0 the agency is enabling beneficiaries to connect their claims data to applications and tools developed by innovative private-sector companies to help them understand, use, and share their health data.
“eMedicare is one of several initiatives focused on modernizing Medicare and empowering patients with information they need to get the best value from their Medicare coverage,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma. “President Trump is delivering on his commitment to Medicare by modernizing tools that deliver health information in the most convenient way possible. This new app is the next in a suite of products designed to give consumers more access and control over their Medicare information.”
CMS created the app to meet the needs of the growing population of people with Medicare. The Medicare population is projected to increase almost 50 percent by 2030 – from 54 million beneficiaries in 2015 to more than 80 million beneficiaries in 2030. As of 2016, about two-thirds of Medicare beneficiaries indicate they use the Internet daily or almost daily (65 percent).
Questions about what Medicare covers are some of the most frequent inquiries that CMS receives. There are approximately 15 million page views annually for coverage-related content on Medicare.gov and 1-800 MEDICARE receives over 3 million coverage-related calls each year.
CMS launched the eMedicare initiative in 2018 to empower beneficiaries with cost and quality information. Other tools in the eMedicare suite include: enhanced interactive online decision support to help people better understand and evaluate their Medicare coverage options and costs between Medicare and Medicare Advantage; a new online service that lets people quickly see how different coverage choices will affect their estimated out-of-pocket costs; new price transparency tools that let consumers compare the national average costs of certain procedures between settings, so people can see what they’ll pay for procedures done in a hospital outpatient department versus an ambulatory surgical center.
Also available is a new webchat option in the Medicare Plan Finder and new easy-to-use surveys across Medicare.gov.
The eMedicare initiative expands and improves on current consumer service options. People with Medicare will continue to have access to paper copies of the Medicare & You handbook and Medicare Summary Notices.
The What’s Covered app is available for free in both Google Play and the Apple App Store. The app is available in Google Play at: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=gov.medicare.coverage, and is available in the Apple App Store at: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/whats-covered/id1444143600?mt=8.