CMS launches app to explain what’s covered by Medicare

CMS has launched a new app for consumers that provides direct access to some of the most-used content on the agency’s website. The app, dubbed “What’s Covered,” allows people with Original Medicare, caregivers and others to see if a certain service or medical item is covered by Medicare.

Questions about what Medicare covers are extremely common, with about 15 million annual page views for coverage-related content on Medicare.gov, the agency stated. The agency’s Medicare phone line also receives more than 3 million coverage-related calls each year.

Beyond the app, beneficiaries will also be able to connect their claims data, via Blue Button 2.0, to applications and tools developed by the private sector to understand, use and share their health data.

The app and the new capabilities are intended to meet the needs of the growing Medicare population and align with CMS’ push toward interoperability and digital health data. CMS’ eMedicare initiative, which launched in 2018, aims to provide 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,” CMS Administrator Seema Verma said in a statement. “This new app is the next in a suite of products designed to give consumers more access and control over their Medicare information.”

Additional tools under eMedicare include:

  • Interactive online decision support to help evaluate coverage options and costs between Medicare and Medicare Advantage
  • Online service revealing how different coverage choices affect out-of-pocket costs
  • Price transparency tools to compare national average costs of certain procedures between settings
  • Webchat options in the Medicare Plan Finder
  • Surveys for consumer feedback

The app is available in Google Play and the Apple App store.