Let’s say you go to your doctor for your annual physical and your doctor recommends that you get a hearing and balance test, or an electrocardiogram, or a Hepatitis B screening.
Does your Original Medicare cover these services? There is now a quick way to find out using your smartphone or tablet.
It’s Medicare’s new “What’s Covered” app, and it’s free. You can use the app right there in your doctor’s office, in the hospital, or anywhere else you use your phone or tablet.
The app displays general cost, coverage and eligibility details for medical items and services covered by Medicare Part A and Part B. You can search or browse to learn what’s covered and not covered; how and when to get covered benefits and basic cost information.
You can also get a list of Medicare-covered preventive health services, like flu shots and cancer and diabetes screenings.
“What’s Covered” is available through the Apple App Store and Google Play. Search for “What’s Covered” or “Medicare” and download the app to your phone. Once “What’s Covered” is installed, you can use it to get reliable Medicare information even when you don’t have access to your computer.
“What’s Covered” is Medicare’s first app. It was created to meet the needs of the growing population of people with Medicare. That population is projected to increase from nearly 56 million beneficiaries in 2016 to more than 80 million beneficiaries in 2030 — an almost 50 percent increase.
About two-thirds of Medicare beneficiaries use the Internet daily, or almost daily, and questions about what Medicare covers are among the most frequently asked questions received by my agency, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
There are about 15 million page views annually seeking coverage-related content on Medicare.gov. Additionally, 1-800 MEDICARE receives more than 3 million coverage-related calls each year.
If you are reading this on your mobile device, you can get the app directly from the Apple App Store or Google Play buttons below:
Apple App Store:
Easy access to accurate, reliable Medicare coverage information is just one new feature of the eMedicare initiative, which we launched last year 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 (https://www.medicare.gov/medicarecoverageoptions/).
• A new online service that lets people quickly see how different coverage choices will affect their estimated out-of-pocket costs (https://www.medicare.gov/oopc/).
• New price transparency tools that let consumers compare the national average costs of certain surgical procedures between settings, so people can see what they’ll pay for procedures done in a hospital outpatient department versus an ambulatory surgical center (https://www.medicare.gov/procedure-price-lookup/).
• A new webchat option in the Medicare Plan Finder (https://www.medicare.gov/find-a-plan/questions/home.aspx).
• New, easy-to-use surveys across Medicare.gov so consumers can continue to tell us what they want.
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.
And, by the way, Medicare does indeed cover hearing and balance tests, EKGs and Hepatitis B screenings.
Greg Dill is Medicare’s regional administrator for Hawai‘i, California, Nevada, Arizona and the Pacific Territories. You can always get answers to your Medicare questions by calling 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).