Let’s be clear: plain writing works

Speaking and writing about the Medicare program in plain language isn’t just good practice—it’s the law. The Plain Writing Act of 2010 requires us to make sure you’ll find our Web pages, booklets, letters and other materials clear and to the point.

You don’t have to look far to find examples of plain writing in our publications and on our Web site. Last July we released A Quick Look at Medicare, an easy-to-read 4-page brochure that sums up what Medicare does, what your choices are, and how you can contact us.

Also, we’ve recently redesigned the Medicare Summary Notice (MSN) to make it easier for you to find and understand your Medicare claims information.

The Affordable Care Act has also given us new opportunities to reach wider audiences with plain writing. For example, we wrote a plain language overview on the health care law for doctors and other health care providers that was mailed with the February edition of WebMD magazine to more than 175,000 doctor’s offices around the country.

We’ve made a lot of progress with plain writing during the past 15 months, but there’s still work to do. How do you think Medicare is doing using plain writing in our documents and Web pages? We need to know, so we can make our materials better. Give us feedback on our efforts and learn more about our ongoing commitment to plain writing by visiting the CMS Plain Language Web page.