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CMS launches app to help seniors determine what Medicare covers

The CMS on Monday released a new app that tells seniors what Medicare will cover, which is part of its plan to help seniors decide between coverage options.

The What’s Covered app will let seniors quickly see whether Medicare covers a specific item or service, the agency said. The goal is to provide more consistent information on Medicare coverage across different healthcare facilities and doctor offices.

“This new app is the next in a suite of products designed to give consumers more access and control over their Medicare information,” CMS Administrator Seema Verma said in a statement.

The app is part of the CMS’ eMedicare initiative rolled out last October aimed at making it easier for seniors to decide on coverage options. The initiative also includes an online service that lets beneficiaries compare coverage from Medicare to Medicare Advantage.

However, some Medicare advocacy groups including the Center for Medicare Advocacy are worried that the initiative is pushing people from traditional Medicare to Medicare Advantage.

The CMS has responded that the goal behind eMedicare is to give seniors more tools to choose coverage options.

The agency added that it is working on enabling beneficiaries to connect their claims data to applications developed by private companies to better share health data. The app comes a week after multiple reports that Apple is working with private Medicare Advantage plans to subsidize the cost of the watch for seniors.