Medicare and me: what’s blue button 2.0?

Leah Sugar Kari, Certified Medical Representative (CMR) and licensed insurance agent specializing in Medicare products

“Leah, you haven’t had a bone density test in three years! Let’s get one scheduled now!”

My doctor busied himself preparing the order for the test, but I was baffled. My thoughts lit up like a pinball machine. Was it really three years since the last test? Isn’t my doctor supposed to be on top of this? Why hadn’t I kept better records?

Enter Medicare’s Blue Button 2.0! Medicare.gov’s newest innovation, Blue Button 2.0 is a program designed to make it easy for Medicare beneficiaries to keep claims records, prescription drug, and personal health information in one place. By creating your own My Medicare.gov (Blue Button) account, you’ll be able to access your Medicare part A, B, and D claims and personal health information. It’s simple to download your own record and share it with your providers, caretakers, or family members, should you wish.

It’s recommended that you download this personal information securely, using an encrypted or password protected computer or flash drive.

Ready to push the Blue Button? Access www.medicare.gov and click “MyMedicare.gov Login,” located in the upper-right corner of the page.

You’ll need your Medicare card to create an account and you’ll set your own password. It’s quick and easy. Within seconds, you’ll see your current prescription drug plan and health insurance information. Click on your name, and you’ll have the option to “Get a Report of My Data” from the dropdown menu. Select the information you’d like included in the report. Medicare beneficiaries, who have original Medicare and a supplement, will have all Part A, B, and D claims accessible.

A clear benefit is the ability to compare your health records with your provider and clear up any inaccuracies that may exist in your electronic record. Currently, Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans will be directed to contact their plan to receive their claims information.

An attractive benefit of creating your own My Medicare.gov account is a live chat feature. This is a helpful way to ask questions of Medicare 24/7 and have those responses in print. You’ll also find apps to download to help you harness your Medicare information.

Push the Blue Button on Medicare.gov’s website, and you’ll be glad you did. Spending a few minutes creating your own account may keep you from pressing the panic button when you need your information in a hurry.

Leah Sugar Kari, CMR and retired pharmaceutical representative, specializes in showing Medicare eligible people their insurance options in Tucson. Reach Leah for comments at 520-484-3807 or email leahkari4@gmail.com. (TTY users dial 711.)