Medicare And You 2014 Pamphlet is Updated – Get Your Copy!
Annually, Medicare provides updated information for the Medicare Beneficiary on how to access and understand their benefits. This year is no exception, the 2014 Medicare & You pamphlet/manual has been uploaded to the CMS website. If you don’t understand A, B, C and D levels of Medicare coverage, this is the place to discover this and more.
I personally believe it is one of the most helpful publications released each year for clinicians and beneficiaries alike to understand the very complex benefit access available to those receiving, or about to become eligible, for Medicare. Last year the booklet contained 140 pages. This year there are 152 pages. Let me highlight a few new areas that make this version different.
Initially on page 2 you will see that the electronic access era has arrived. Medicare will enable persons to go to mymedicare.gov and to download an e-reader version of the pamphlet. Although Medicare recipients receive a copy of this each year in their mailbox, I am not quite certain if they realize the importance of the information or if they perhaps treat it like junk mail and toss it or store it in a china cupboard perhaps to be forgotten. The beneficiary can upload this document and even opt to receive future versions in the techo-savy way rather than traditional ‘hard-copy’. This alone tells you that senior citizens are now accessing healthcare-related data more and more by Internet access.
After this introduction there is a discussion on the Affordable Care Act on page 3. This dicusses how beneficiaries have access to no cost wellness visits and information on the drug gap coverage policies now available to them.
Further yet is personal health information very specific to the beneficiary such as on line explanation of benefits and how to personalize and retrieve their health care information. This is covered in detail on page 133.
Section 8, pages 118 and 119, explain what the Advanced Beneficiary Notice (ABN) is and what this entitles them to do. In past years, many providers may not have relied on providing notification on denial of payment and rationale for the use of an ABN. In this less certain climate of coverage vs. non-coverage, I believe healthcare providers are being more proactive in providing information to beneficiaries when they believe coverage may be questioned. Discussion on what an appeal is and how to file it are useful sections.
Section 10 offers more insights for ‘Get More Information’ and useful links.
Although in past years they provided an out of pocket ‘co-payment’ level of charges, this year the publication was printed prior to those decisions. Don’t worry though, here you can see the 2013 and 2014 co-insurance payment levels. Note that the newest language calls ‘co-payments’, ‘co-insurance’. If patients need access to this link, there is a phone number published that tells them who to contact to get this information.