Empowering New York Medicare Beneficiaries in Complex Situations
Empowering Health Care Consumers
June 24, 2019
Health care can be a complicated field, especially for elderly and disabled people on Medicare.
Although there are numerous general resources available for Medicare beneficiaries and their caregivers, none provide comprehensive instruction on how to navigate complex situations. The lack of a detailed roadmap can leave these patients unclear on how find the appropriate health care services to meet their needs. Medicare beneficiaries and their caregivers need guidance on what questions to ask, who to ask, and how to convey the information to other relevant stakeholders like insurers and suppliers. In 2019, NYSHealth awarded Medicare Rights Center (MRC) a grant to develop and promote patient-centered advocacy guides and a consumer e-mail channel that can empower Medicare beneficiaries and their caregivers in New York State.
Under this grant, MRC created advocacy guides based on the most frequently asked questions from Medicare patients. Each advocacy guide included background information on a specific topic; helpful questions to ask doctors, insurers, suppliers, and other stakeholders; and case examples and decision trees that users can follow to resolve a problem. The online, printable guides were tailored to help consumers troubleshoot a range of issues, such as Medicare enrollment, medical equipment access, and Part D drug access. The guides were primarily geared toward patient advocates who can help clients navigate the Medicare system. Additionally, MRC piloted a consumer e-mail channel in New York State that directed consumers in need of assistance to the appropriate resources. This e-mail channel expanded MRC’s counseling capacity and made its services more easily accessible for those with disabilities. MRC promoted these new consumer tools by sharing them with its New York State-based partners; hosting webinars for interested individuals and organizations; presenting at conferences and trainings; and including them in its State newsletter.