The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has released a mobile application that enables consumers to determine whether Medicare covers a specific medical item or service.
According to CMS, the “What’s Covered” app enables consumers to more easily obtain healthcare coverage information for Original Medicare Part A and Part B in the doctor’s office, hospital or any location they use their mobile device.
“Questions about what Medicare covers are some of the most frequent inquiries that CMS receives,” states the agency announcement. “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 free app, available in both the Apple App Store and Google Play, is part of the agency’s eMedicare initiative—launched in 2018—which is aimed at empowering beneficiaries with cost and quality information.
“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 in a written statement. The agency is “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.”
Under the agency’s Blue Button 2.0 initiative, the agency is also enabling beneficiaries to connect their claims data to apps and tools developed by private-sector companies to help them better understand, use and share their health data.
The other eMedicare tools provided by CMS include:
- Enhanced interactive online decision support to help beneficiaries better understand and evaluate their Medicare coverage options and costs between Medicare and Medicare Advantage.
- A new online service that lets consumers quickly see how different coverage choices will affect their estimated out-of-pocket costs.
- New price transparency tools that let people compare the national average costs of certain procedures between settings, so they can 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.
The agency contends that the new “What’s Covered” app and other tools are designed to “meet the needs of the growing population of people with Medicare,” which is projected to increase almost 50 percent by 2030, from 54 million beneficiaries in 2015 to more than 80 million beneficiaries in 2030.