Find Quality Health Care Information In Spanish

More of Medicare’s quality care Web sites are now available in Spanish – and they’re ready to help you find the health care options that meet your needs. It’s one of the many ways we’re sharing Medicare’s information so that everyone can better understand their health care options and get quality care.

These Web sites are easy to use to find health care professionals, services, and facilities. Use this information to get involved and take control of your health care choices, and help your family members with their choices, too.

Compare your options – you may find doctors or facilities that are closer to your home, helping you save time. Or, you may find facilities that you didn’t know about – all you need is your zip code to start searching.

You can find and compare in Spanish:

Are You Ready for 2012? 5 Questions to Ask Yourself

Now that it’s January, here are a few things to ask yourself to make sure you’re ready for 2012.

1. Do you have the right insurance card to use when you go to the doctor?
If you changed your health or drug plan during Medicare’s Open Enrollment period and haven’t gotten your new card or welcome packet, contact your plan for help.

If you changed from a Medicare Advantage Plan (like an HMO or PPO) back to Original Medicare, use your red, white, and blue Medicare card when you go to the doctor. Get a new card if you lost or damaged yours, or need to update your information.

2. Did you budget for this year’s Medicare Part B deductible?
Don’t forget, if you have Medicare Part B and are in Original Medicare, now that it’s a new year you’ll have to meet your deductible before your Medicare coverage pays for services and supplies.

This year, the Medicare Part B deductible is $140 – lower than last year! Make sure to plan your health care budget to account for the increased cost of doctor visits for the time that it will take to cover your deductible.

3. Have you made appointments to get any preventive tests or screenings?
Medicare covers many preventive services to keep you healthy and screenings to check for health problems. Many of these services are covered each year. Ask your doctor when during the year you should schedule your wellness visit and other screenings. You can also use mymedicare.gov to track your visits and make a calendar of preventive services.

Medicare also covers 2 new preventive services:
       1. Alcohol Misuse Screenings
       2. Depression Counseling

Talk to your doctor about these covered preventive services to find out what’s right for your health needs.

4. Does your drug or health plan meet your needs?
If not, Medicare has a new way for you to get the coverage you want instead of having to wait for this year’s Open Enrollment. At any time during the year, you can switch to a Medicare Advantage Plan or Medicare Prescription Drug Plan that has a 5-star rating.

Plan ratings are based on member surveys, information from doctors and health care providers, and other sources. The plan ratings are scores that show the quality and performance of the plan, on a scale of 1 to 5 stars, with 5 being the highest rated plans.

You can make this change once per calendar year. Find 5-star health and drug plans in your area.

5. Is your doctor using Electronic Health Records and Electronic Prescribing to provide better care?
Using Electronic Health Records (EHRs) and electronic prescribing can help reduce paperwork, medical errors, and health care costs. These methods can also help doctors communicate better with each other about your care. For example, when you visit a specialist, your primary care doctor can send them your screening information and results. That way, you won’t have to have duplicate screenings and tests. Ask your doctor about what they’re doing to use EHRs and electronic prescribing to better coordinate your health care. Find out more about EHRs and electronic prescribing.

Remember to check http://www.medicare.gov/ for the latest Medicare news and information, and have a healthy 2012.

Protect yourself – Get screened for Cervical Cancer

Cervical cancer and human papilloma virus (HPV) affect thousands of women each year. Regular screening tests like pap tests and pelvic exams can help find cancer and other health problems early and improve recovery and survival rates. Talk to your doctor about scheduling your next test!

Find out more about Medicare’s pap test and pelvic exam coverage.

For more information about HPV, go to the American Cancer Society’s HPV Frequently Asked Questions Web site.

To learn more about Cervical Cancer, go to the American Cancer Society’s Web site for Cervical Cancer Information.

At risk for glaucoma? Find out before it’s too late

Do you have diabetes, a family history of glaucoma, or are you African American and age 50 or older? If so, your risk of getting glaucoma may be higher. With the start of a new year, it’s the perfect time to schedule a regular eye exam to check for glaucoma. You can prevent vision loss by finding and treating problems early.  Find out more about Medicare’s glaucoma screening coverage.