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Medicare information available online



As 2014 gets under way, U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid would like to give the public a quick overview of the Medicare information they can now get online.

The website, www.Medicare.gov, has a wealth of information that the public may find helpful.

One terrific feature is the “Compare” websites, which provide quality of care information on hospitals, nursing homes, home health agencies, and dialysis centers in your area.

Take Hospital Compare. This tool has information about the quality of care at more than 4,000 Medicare-certified hospitals across the United States.

Hospital Compare gives the public a snapshot of the quality of hospitals by allowing visitors to compare their performance on different quality of care measurements.

For example, visitors can find information on how often and quickly each hospital gives recommended treatments for certain conditions including heart attack, heart failure, and pneumonia.

The public can also learn how each hospital’s readmission and death rates compare with the national rate, and how likely patients in that hospital are to suffer complications.

To check out Hospital Compare, and our other Compare tools, go to www.Medicare.gov.

Medicare.gov also lets browsers search for doctors and other healthcare providers, including medical suppliers, near where they live.

It’s also possible to search online for Medicare health and prescription drug plans in your area.

Just click the “Find health & drug plans” button. Visitors see a list of local plans, premium and other cost information, contact information, and how many stars the plan received under Medicare’s Five Star Rating System.

In addition, Medicare.gov lets visitors see what Medicare covers, including preventive health services.

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, co-pays and deductibles were eliminated for many of the tests, screenings, and immunizations that Medicare covers to help community members stay healthy.

Preventive screenings for cancer, heart disease, and other problems can help detect them in their earliest, most treatable stages.

Another helpful new tool is the www.MyMedicare.gov website, which allows users to create a secure, online account for accessing personalized information regarding Medicare benefits and services.

Once new users have registered at MyMedicare.gov they can:

· Complete a “Initial Enrollment Questionnaire” so your Medicare claims can get paid correctly;

· Manage personal information (like medical conditions, allergies, and implanted devices);

· Manage personal drug list and pharmacy information;

· Search for, add to, and manage a list of favorite providers and access quality information about them;

· Track Original Medicare claims and your Part B deductible status;

· Sign up to get the annual “Medicare & You” handbook electronically, to be “green.”

MyMedicare.gov also features our new Blue Button, which allows users to download their Medicare claims data to a personal computer or mobile phone.

Why would you want to do that?

Claims information gives users a better picture of their overall health. This can help them make more informed decisions about care and can help give health care providers a more complete view of health history. Having claims data on a computer file makes it easy to share with doctors and caregivers.

People with Medicare are urged to check their claims and make sure they reflect services you actually received, and were only billed once for.

If you suspect possible fraud or abuse, call us at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).

And if members of the public don’t have computer access, they can just call 1-800-MEDICARE and customer representatives will help.

David Sayen is Medicare’s regional administrator for Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, and the Pacific Territories. You can always get answers to your Medicare questions by calling 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).

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