October 6, 2016
Medicare.gov is the official web site for the U.S. government’s Medicare program. The web site is also related to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) (www.cms.gov), which administers the Medicare program. Medicare.gov provides official benefit information regarding the various programs that constitute Medicare as well as tools to help Medicare beneficiaries. Medicare.gov tools cover issues such as nursing home comparisons. The Medicare.gov tools also provide the means for evaluation of and enrollment in Medicare Advantage plans offered by private insurance companies contracted with Medicare to provide at minimum the benefits of Original Medicare Part A and Part B with the exception of hospice care which part A still covers and stand-alone Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plans. Medicare.gov is targeted both to people who receive Medicare benefits as well as family and friends caring for individuals who receive Medicare benefits.
Medicare.gov is organized around several categories. These Medicare.gov categories include:
- Sign Up/Change Plans –Get information on when and how to sign up for Medicare Part A and Part B, your choices in Medicare coverage, how to get Part D prescription drug coverage, how to find Medicare plans offered by private insurance companies, how to find doctors, hospitals and facilities participating in Medicare.
- Your Medicare Costs – Get information on obtaining help paying your Medicare costs, Medicare costs at a glance, Part A costs, Part B costs, costs for Medicare prescription drug coverage, costs for Medicare Advantage plans, ways to pay your Part A and Part B premium.
- What Medicare Covers –An interactive tool that permits you to type in a test, procedure or medical supply to find out if it is covered by Medicare; contains information on what is covered and what is not covered under Part A and Part B, preventive screenings, your Medicare choices; and provides tools that allow you to find and compare Medicare plans, suppliers of medical equipment and supplies, and doctors, hospitals and other providers.
- Drug Coverage (Part D) – Get information on Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage, how and when to enroll in a Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan, how your Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan works with other insurance, compare Medicare plans offering prescription drug coverage.
- Supplements & Other Insurance – Get information on how Medicare works with other insurance, Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plans.
- Claims & Appeals – Get information on filing a claim or checking the status of a claim, filing a complaint, filing an appeal to an adverse determination, your Medicare rights, and the Authorization to Disclose Personal Information form you need to use if you want another person to help you with your Medicare coverage.
- Managing your health – Get information on preventative services and personal health records
- Resource locator – Get tools for evaluating Medicare Advantage health plans and prescription drug plans, nursing homes, doctors, and hospitals
- Forms, Help & Support – Get glossary, Medicare.gov index, caregiver resources, and useful phone numbers and .gov web sites (e.g.www.hhs.gov, www.va.gov, www.hud.gov, and www.usa.gov) and other web sites
Along with the aforementioned categories, Medicare.gov lets you search web pages for content containing the words you specify. This .gov web site also supplies forms used by applicants wishing to enroll in Medicare, and a dedicated guide for several topics, including the Medicare benefit handbook, Medicare and You, Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plans and Special Needs Plans.
As Americans approach their 65th birthdays, they are often aware that they need to get Medicare. The Medicare.gov web site provides information on how to get Medicare. Additionally, Medicare.gov posts an online application form (http://www.medicare.gov/MedicareOnlineForms/) that enables visitors to apply for Medicare coverage. Medicare.gov also contains a link to their annual handbook which provides information on how to get Medicare.
The large volume of content on Medicare.gov can present challenges when searching for the correct web page you need (e.g. “How do I get Medicare?). Medicare.gov allows you to search for any pages related to the word or phrase in which you’re interested. To search Medicare.gov, you can enter your search topic into the box next to the Search button at the top of the page. After entering the search topic, click the Search button to search Medicare.gov and the web site will get a list of Medicare.gov pages related to that topic.
If this option fails to provide the information you need, Medicare.gov contains a Help page (https://www.mymedicare.gov/help/mymedicare.govhelp.aspx) providing additional assistance beyond the search tool. Additional information regarding Medicare benefits on Medicare.gov can be found in the Medicare.gov brochure entitled Your Medicare Benefits (http://www.medicare.gov/Pubs/pdf/10116.pdf)