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CMS health insurance resource plots entire care process

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services went live with a site that has materials to guide patients through every step of the care process, from researching to scheduling a visit to following up.

Patients with questions about their healthcare coverage and benefits -- or those currently looking for a provider -- now have a few more avenues they can explore to find answers.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services launched a new health insurance resource called From Coverage to Care, which offers videos and printable information about the entire patient care process -- from selecting a provider to following up after an office visit. The goal of the initiative is to help providers and patients become more engaged and help address any questions that newly insured patients may have.

The program provides patients with resources, such as videos and online booklets that help explain the different steps before, during and after a care episode. As outlined in one of the documents made available electronically, there are eight steps patients must be familiar with when dealing with their health, from prevention and healthy lifestyle habits to better post care and follow-up routines.

"Helping to ensure that new health care consumers know about the benefits available through their coverage, and how to use it appropriately to obtain primary care and preventive services is essential to improving the health of the nation and reducing health care costs," Cara V. James, Ph.D., director of the CMS Office of Minority Health, said in a CMS release. "To achieve these goals, we need to make sure that people who are newly covered know that their coverage can help them stay healthy, not just help them get better if they get sick."

Private payers are developing similar online health insurance resources to provide subscribers with guidance and helpful health tips. UnitedHealthcare, for example, offers personalized preventive care guidelines on its site. Other payers provide their clients with mobile apps to help them manage existing medical conditions. By reaching out to patients, payers are able to further educate them and push them to become more engaged with their care and understand the services that are covered by their health plan providers. Raising patient awareness will likely contribute to the improvement of patient health and help to reduce overall medical costs.

About the author:
Reda Chouffani is vice president of development at Biz Technology Solutions Inc., which provides software design, development and deployment services for the healthcare industry. Let us know what you think about the story; email
 editor@searchhealthit.com or contact @SearchHealthIT on Twitter.


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