February 8th, 2011 at 3:07 am
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CMS “Ask Medicare” site helpful

by Carol Bursack

Is this covered by Medicare?

Questions about Medicare coverage come my way daily. Generally, the question is about in-home agency care, assisted living or nursing home care. I can give people a general idea of what Medicare may or may not cover, but Medicare and/or Medicaid coverage depends on many variables, sometimes including which state you live in. Therefore, for information beyond the extremely general, I must direct people to the Medicare site.

I know. The thought of a government website can make chills run down the spine. Images of horrible navigation and confusing directions come to mind. However, the Medicare.gov site  is truly helpful, and depending on what you need, reasonably user friendly.

My monthly newsletter from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), called “Ask Medicare,” arrived in my e-mail box recently. Receiving the newsletter reminded me that it had been awhile since I’d suggested the CMS site to readers. If you or your loved one has anything at all to do with Medicare, which is likely since eldercarelink.com is a site about elder care, please consider signing up for “Ask Medicare,” at www.medicare.gov.

The newsletter comes in a printable PDF format, which is helpful, but online you can click all the links. This month’s issue features “$0 Tests & Screenings,” “Drop Your MA Plan Until Feb 14,” “New to Medicare? 4 Things to Do NOW.” “National Alzheimer’s Project Act” and a direct link to the Alzheimer’s Association.

The Medicare.gov site, itself, is packed with information. There are links to:

Help With Billing

Is It Covered?

How to Read a Medicare Summary Notice

File a Claim

Appeals & Grievances

Report Fraud

Navigating Medicare

Medicare Basics

How to Enroll

Managing Health Care

Permission to Access Health Information

Compare Drug Plans

Compare Health & Medigap Plans

Get In-Home Services

Overwhelmed? Get Help.

Financial Help for Caregivers

Find Local Support

Find local help with Geriatric Care

Get Legal Help

Staying Healthy

Care Options

Compare Facilities

What Doctors Take Medicare

Get In-Home Services

Nursing Home Alternatives

Ways to Pay for Nursing Homes

Plan for Long-Term Care

See what I mean? This portal to information is practically endless. Should you find yourself in need of phone numbers, a little digging can get you that information, as well. Take a few minutes and look http://www.medicare.gov over, then subscribe to “Ask Medicare.” Soon, you may be telling friends how and what you learned from this site.

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