Medicare site unites services
- By Judi Hasson
- Nov 16, 2000
The federal government's Medicare Web site has unveiled a series of new
initiatives to help unify its health care services online.
This is the first time information on all Medicare programs is available
in one, easy-to-use place, according to Michael Hash, acting administrator
of the Health Care Financing Administration, which runs the federal health
program for the elderly.
More than 20 percent of senior citizens have access to the Internet, and
they are among the fastest growing group of Web users in the United States.
New features on the site (www.medicare.gov) include:
* Information on how to get low-cost or free prescription drugs from pharmaceutical
companies, states, community-based programs and disease-specific programs.
Although Medicare covers most health care costs for seniors, prescription
drugs are not covered by the plan.
* A directory of doctors who see Medicare patients. Users will be able to
specialty and location.
* An updated program comparing nursing home performance over time. Until
now, only the most current survey results were available.
* Medicare health benefits explained in Spanish.
"This is a work in progress, and we are eager to get feedback on how to
improve the site, especially from physicians, who are required by many pharmaceutical
company assistance programs to submit applications for their patients,"