Making your way through complex medical systems, doctors appointments, and treatments can be overwhelming. Medicare beneficiaries can get free help with care coordination, medication management, explanation of a diagnosis or treatment, and connections to resources through the Medicare Quality Improvement Organization. Just complete the brief form on their home page. If you need additional assistance finding help for your health care journey, complete the contact form at aPatientsPlace.com.
medicare recently sent 61 million new Medicare cards to members. If you have not received a new card take these steps:
1. Call 1-800-Medicare. they will verify your identity and address, and help you get a new card.
2. Log into your Medicare.gov account to retrieve your new Medicare number or print your official card.
3. Ask your primary care practice or medical provider. they may be able to look up your Medicare number for you.
1. Be involved in all parts of your healthcare.
2. Ask questions whenever you are unsure of anything related to your healthcare.
3. Find out how much you will be expected to pay before appointments, tests, and treatments are started.
4. Request copies of your test results, doctor’s notes, and medical record when you check in for any appointment, test or treatment.
5. Always find out how much successful experience your health providers have at diagnosing and treating your specific condition.
6. Keep and organize copies of your medical records, test results, and interactions with all of your health providers.
7. Learn as much as you can about your illness and providers from trustworthy sources.
8. Contact your insurance provider as much as is needed to understand your coverage, your insurance provider’s guidelines, and your financial responsibilities.
9. Negotiate fees with doctors and treatment providers whenever possible.
10. Review your bills for mistakes, or have someone do it for you; its free.
11. Consult an experienced specialist after a serious diagnosis.
Get free help navigating your health insurance, appealing insurance denials, and accessing care through the Patient Advocate Foundation, or call 800-532-5274. Go to https://apatientsplace.com/help-guidance/ for hundreds of links to free help with your healthcare.
Pretty much everyone agrees that helping patients understand and engage in their own health, well being, and health care is an important part of a safe, cost-effective, and high performing U.S. health system.
It makes no sense that despite the evidence that patients are still facing significant barriers to getting their own medical information., leading health care organizations, including the White House, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service (CMS), and leading payers sit on their hands when providers do not remove barriers and provide patients easy and affordable access to their own medical information.
The solutions are not hard or technological. Today, with only a few exceptions, medical records are kept electronically, and the cost to transmit data is almost nothing.
Access would be opened and barriers lowered if these leading organizations would simply publicizing organizations not complying, reducing reimbursement payments, and assessing penalties for non-compliance.
Unfortunately for every American, the White House, Congress, HHS, CMS, and large commercial health insurance companies, have not taken much leadership in solving this long-standing problem. Sure, they’ll offer hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars for health providers to convert to electronic medical records, and even announce new initiatives with great names, like “MyHealthEData,” intended to “trigger innovation, advance research to cure disease, and provide evidence-based treatment guidelines.” God forbid they actually helped Americans get the cost and medical information they must have to manage their own health.
Fortunately, even without leadership form these healthcare powers, some consumer driven organization like Apple or Amazon will eventually figure out how to give control of our medical records back to consumers and monetize providing consumers a simple, secure, and unobstructed digital service for collecting, storing, retrieving, and distributing their own health records.