Determining coverage has never been easier. CMS recently released an app that provides coverage information on Medicare. With the What’s Covered app, anyone can search for a service or item and see whether it’s covered under Medicare Part A or Medicare Part B.
How Can I Use the App?
Before you can use the app, you need to install it. You can get it for free at the Google Play Store or at the Apple App Store.
Once you’ve downloaded the app, using it is easy. You can get started in a couple of ways.
- Go to the homepage (the first page that pops up when you open the app) and type the item or service you’re looking for in the big search bar.
- Click on “Browse all items & services” and use the alphabetical listing to find the service or item you’re looking for.
- Click on “Browse all items & services” and then click on “Preventative services” to see a list of all preventative services. After the “Welcome to Medicare” preventative visit, this list is also in alphabetical order.
After you select the service or item you’re interest in, you’ll receive clear information on whether or not it’s covered, as well as additional details on out-of-pocket costs and other important points.
The app works offline, so once you’ve downloaded it, you can use it anywhere, whether or not you have internet access.
What Does the App Cover?
The What’s Covered app provides information on Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B. It does not provide information on Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage or on Medicare Advantage plans.
While the list of services and items is fairly long, some of the terms are rather general. For example, “surgery” is listed as a covered service, but individual types of surgery, even common ones, may not be listed. For example, as of writing this article, a search for “knee replacement surgery” or “knee replacement” does not produce any results. This type of issue may cause some confusion as users try to figure out which terms they need to search for.
Why Did CMS Create the App?
The What’s Covered app is part of the larger eMedicare initiative.
According to the press release from CMS, the eMedicare initiative was launched in 2018 in order to expand and improve consumer service options. It includes other online tools, such as price transparency tools, webchat options, surveys and coverage comparison options.
By 2030, the number of Medicare enrollees is expected to exceed 80 million. Because the majority of Medicare enrollees report using the internet daily, online tools will help CMS meet the needs of this growing group.