Medicare's What’s Covered App Review

New App Unravels the Mysteries of Medicare Coverage

In January, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) launched a new app called What’s Covered. The app takes some of the most popular information from the Medicare website and puts it in the palm of patients and providers hands via an intuitive app. Medicare coverage is booming especially as our population ages and states expand coverage. For example, in 2015 over 54 million people had Medicare coverage. This is expected to explode by over 30% to more than 80 million by 2030. Reportedly, nearly two-thirds of Medicare beneficiaries use the internet daily and Medicare coverage and prices are frequently searched items.

Per CMS, “approximately 15 million page views annually for coverage-related content on Medicare.gov and 1-800 MEDICARE receives over 3 million coverage-related calls each year.” The app will likely decrease those numbers dramatically assuming the app gains traction both in the news, word of mouth, and by providers “prescribing” the app to their patients. The primary focus for the app is on the common “what’s covered” preventive services questions. For example, the app will give patients rapid answers to whether or not a mammogram is covered and how frequently they can get them. The app contains key information on both Part A and Part B coverage and the prices for what is/isn’t covered in those two areas.

Evidence-Based Medicine

The app contains valuable information for patients and providers alike regarding what’s covered in Medicare Part A/Part B plans. The app has an intuitive search function with bottom line up front answers about specific services that are or are not covered followed by more detailed information such as age and gender restrictions, the frequency of coverage, price, etc. The app emphasizes those preventive services that are or are not covered (such as USPSTF recommendations) and both hospital and outpatient information. All data is available on the Medicare website, but the app is much more user-friendly regarding this particular and common issue regarding Medicare — what’s covered.

What Providers Would Benefit from this App?

Students, residents, nurses, mid-levels, social workers, nurse case managers, family medicine, internal medicine, emergency medicine/urgent care and any provider who works with Medicare patients.

Price

Likes

  • Comprehensive answers to all of our Medicare questions for Part A/B
  • Intuitive interface with multiple modalities to find information
  • Available for Android

Dislikes

  • Requires our Medicare patients to own a smart device
  • Some additional clicking and scrolling required to get to the information
  • Not many links or comprehensive references available in the app

Overall

Medicare’s What’s Covered is an app I wish I had many years ago. The app is like having your own social services worker/nurse case manager/referral management person wrapped up into one app. Medicare patients with a smartphone (not necessarily a given) must download this app. If you care for Medicare patients and don’t know all the ins and outs of Medicare coverage (like me), then you should download the app to be a source of accurate information for your patients.

Overall Score

User Interface

Easy-to-use interface with large search window and helpful finder tabs along the bottom of the app to help patients quickly find what they are looking for and deliver a simple yes or no regarding coverage with additional information available.

Multimedia Usage

The app contains easy finders in the menu, bottom of the page, and comprehensive search function to deliver results with links to Medicare.gov and 800 numbers for additional information if needed.

Price

The app is free.

Real-World Applicability

An essential app for Medicare patients and all providers who serve these patients. What’s Covered covers all the important questions for patients and providers — what does this service cost, what preventive services can I get an when, and does Medicare cover home health or diabetes supplies. I definitely can see this app being used daily by providers who serve geriatric populations, hospitalists, and anyone in primary care. Finally, the app is free  — so check it out.

Device Used For Review: iPhone 8 running iOS 12.1.2

Available for Download for iPhone, iPad, and Android.

The views expressed are those of the author(s) and do not reflect the official policy of the Department of the Army, the Department of Defense or the U.S. Government.