What happens after you sign up for Medicare? Should you just sit back and relax, or are there steps you can take to actively manage your Medicare benefits?
In this article, I’ll outline what you need to know, steps you can take to protect your data, and where you can turn if you need to learn more.
Use Online Access to Stay Up-To-Date
Once you’ve signed up for Medicare at saa.gov, you can create your own account on the Medicare.gov website, which allows you to receive secure, personalized information.
Plan Your Future Medical Decisions
It could be that you eventually fall too ill to speak for yourself and manage your Medicare coverages. In this instance, it’s a good idea to create and maintain your living will, set up and sign a durable power of attorney (POA), and plan for paying your long-term care costs.
Consider Electronic Prescriptions
Instead of having your physician write you a paper prescription, which requires that you then visit the pharmacy in person and wait for it to be filled, consider electronic prescriptions. This way, the doctor can send the request directly to the pharmacy, thereby saving you time, effort, and hassle.
Utilize Medicare’s Blue Button Service
According to their website, Medicare’s Blue Button & Blue Button 2.0 feature is a “safe, secure, reliable, and easy-to-use way to download your personal health information.”
Consequently, you can save your details to your computer or other devices, including your Part A, Part B, and Part D claims. This feature also helps you make more informed decisions about your health care, share the information with others, and use the data in conjunction with other authorized applications, services, and research programs.
To use Medicare’s Blue Button 2.0 feature, simply click the “download my claims & personal data” from the site’s drop-down menu, select the information you’d like to download, click “Create Report,” and save the file to your computer as a PDF or a TXT file.
Note: If you have an Advantage plan, you’ll only be able to access your Part D information through Medicare’s Blue Button 2.0 service.
Together, Medicare emphasizes this feature can help you get control of your health information, share it with doctors, caregivers, or anyone you choose, and manage and improve your health using different connected apps and “other computer-bases services.”
Take Actionable Precautions to Protect Your Information
According to the Federal Trade Commission, “a 2011 MetLife Mature Market Institute review of research and news report estimated that elderly victims lose at least $2.9 billion annually from fraud, up 12 percent from 2008.”
The goal is to treat your medical information the same way as banking details or other financial data. To help avoid becoming a statistic, follow these common sense guidelines:
- Don’t Share Your Information – Unless you’ve given someone access to your Medicare data, don’t share it with anyone who contacts you by phone, email, or in person.
- Watch Out Who You Give Your Information To – Along these same lines, only give your Medicare details to doctors, insurers, and other trusted community members.
- Keep Your Card in a Safe Place – While Medicare card numbers are now different than your social security numbers, it’s still a good idea not to carry it around in your wallet. Instead, tuck it away somewhere that you’ll easily remember, which allows you to quickly access it when you need it. Pro Tip: You can keep your card in your other Medicare paperwork for easy access when you need it.
- Good File Management – Once you download your data from the Medicare website, keep it on a CD, flash drive, or mobile app (e.g., Dropbox or other file storage program). I also recommend encrypting and password-protecting your files, where you save them. Further, encrypt any information you send via email.
Note: It’s up to you to choose the apps or other services you use with the information pulled from Medicare’s Blue Button 2.0 services. As such, make sure you fully understand what they do with your data before downloading and handing over any of your medical information.
Looking for More Information About How to Manage Your Medicare Benefits?
According to the Medicare.gov website, “Medicare fraud and medical identity theft can cost taxpayers billions of dollars each year.” The good news is that the professional staff at IHS Insurance Group have the experience and knowledge to help you manage your Medicare. Just ask, and we’ll provide you with actionable advice!
Need a FREE Quote or have questions regarding Medicare Coverage? We have three convenient ways to reach us:
- If you prefer to talk to a licensed agent directly, please call (866) 480 5063.
- If you prefer to fill out a quick form and have an agent get back to you at your convenience, use the GET A FREE QUOTE.
- Lastly, for those that want an immediate quote, please click HERE.
Also, check out our Medicare FAQs here.