Critter Corner: New “What’s Covered” App for Medicare

Dear Ernie and Jannette,

I am often uncertain about what’s covered by Medicare. I really dislike being put on hold forever when I call CMS with questions. Are there any easy ways to see what’s covered and what’s not?

Thanks!
Izzy Tacovert-Ornott

Dear Izzy,

You’re in luck. When it comes to seeing what’s covered by original Medicare and what’s not, there’s an app for that!

Recently, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) launched an app that lets people with original Medicare, caregivers, and others quickly see whether Medicare covers a specific medical item or service. Consumers can now use the “What’s Covered” app on their mobile device to get accurate original Medicare coverage information in the doctor’s office, the hospital, or anywhere else they use their mobile device.

Why the App was Created

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.

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.

The eMedicare Initiative Provides Additional Helpful Tools

CMS launched the eMedicare initiative in 2018. Besides the app, 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 people see what they’ll pay for procedures done in a hospital outpatient department versus an ambulatory surgical center.
• A new webchat option in the Medicare Plan Finder.
• New surveys on Medicare.gov so consumers can continue to tell CMS what they want.

Even though there are many more online features and an app available, people with Medicare will continue to have access to paper copies of the “Medicare & You” handbook and in their “Medicare Summary Notices.”

Hop this is helpful,

Ernie and Jannette

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