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U.S. Latinos are at higher risk for diabetes, obesity, and other health conditions than their White peers. Yet they face many barriers in accessing Medicare and other healthcare coverage.
A new app can help these Latinos.
Medicare’s first and only app, “What’s covered,” is now available in English or Spanish. The app delivers accurate cost, coverage, and eligibility details for Original Medicare Part A and Part B items and services.
The app is free on both the App Store and Google Play.
To download the app in Spanish, just search for “Qué está cubierto.”
What Can the App Do?
Medicare’s new app takes some of the most popular information from the Medicare website. It ensures beneficiaries have personalized, accessible guidance to make informed decisions about their care and coverage.
Let’s say you go for your annual physical and your doctor recommends that you get a hearing and balance test. Or an electrocardiogram (EKG). Or a Hepatitis B screening.
Does your Original Medicare cover these services?
You can use the app to find out. It works whether you are in the doctor’s office, hospital, or anywhere else you use your phone or tablet.
Users can search specific terms or browse to learn:
- Which items and services are covered.
- How and when to get these covered benefits.
- Basic cost information.
- A list of covered preventive services to help consumers easily find those recommended services that help keep them healthy.
The English version of the app launched earlier in 2019. Now the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) have released the app in Spanish.
Currently, Medicare covers healthcare costs for 55 million Americans, including 4.1 million Latinos.
Does the App Work Well?
The app “is like having your own social services worker/nurse case manager/referral management person wrapped up into one app,” according to the iMedicalApps report.
Casey Schwarz OF the nonprofit Medicare Rights Center said the app has room for improvement.
“While usable and good for general information, it doesn’t provide personalized information that might be more helpful in making treatment or access decisions,” Schwarz said, according to the New York Times.
Dan Newman, a product designer at Cedar, said the app is good, but could be even better.
“The ‘What’s covered’ app is a huge step in the right direction toward enabling better transparency across healthcare,” Newman said. “But we need to go further to make it easier for Medicare patients to feel more informed prior to and after the medical visit.”
Newman suggests improving navigational functions, and adding a real-time chat.
He also recommends adding information on out-of-pocket costs.
“Age 18 or 80, today’s consumers are ready for better when it comes to the patient engagement experience,” Newman said. “It’s encouraging to see CMS investing in patient-facing technology as part of their multi-year eMedicare initiative. Future releases will benefit from additional understanding of patient needs and how they want to receive information.”
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