How Online Health Tools Can Help Adult Children and their Senior Parents
It is often difficult for both seniors and their adult children to navigate the ever-changing healthcare landscape. This task is especially challenging for both parents and their offspring as the parents' healthcare needs change. Questions and confusion often arise when they want to find a new Medicare plan, supplemental plan or choose a physician or specialist who is right for their condition AND is covered by their plan.
There is also still a large knowledge and skills gap for many people who didn't grow up or work day-to-day in the information age. Computer skills are lacking for many people born before the 1960s. According to TechCrunch, nationally, one-third of adults ages 65 and older say they've never used the internet, and half don't have internet access at home. As such, these seniors' children, other family members, caregivers or friends need to help them access information to help them live more informed and thus healthier lives.
To help identify opportunities to find this important health information, consider the following tips.
Search Tool to Find Doctors and Specialists
One search tool to help older adults find the best doctor or specialist is called
Physician Compare on Medicare.gov. This tool can help you locate a doctor by name, specialty or even via a group practice, body part or condition. This platform also uses searches by location so you can find healthcare professionals close to where you or your senior parent or loved one live.
AARP Resource to Decipher the World of Medicare
This site breaks down the confusion about Medicare, its different plans and helps people wade through the glossary of terms in this world, which is foreign to those who have never been introduced to Medicare and its many details.
AARP members who find original Medicare coverage lacking can qualify for an AARP Medicare Plan for better benefits. AARP plans are administered by United Healthcare and include both major types of private Medicare coverage: Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement insurance.
Medicare Supplemental Plan Finder: FitScoreTM
Another standout and easy-to-use tool is FitScoreTM from HealthMarkets. This online tool asks a few simple questions and then canvases hundreds of different carriers to find the best Medicare supplemental plan for you or your loved ones. It debuted in 2019 and is used by both people doing online searches and HealthMarkets agents to help customers find the best fit for them.
FitScoreTM can also help determine if prescriptions and/or specialists for certain conditions are covered by your plan or the plan you are researching and potentially purchase.
The good news is that all of these tools are free and easy to use-even if you only have baseline computer skills. Of course, there are also contact and support numbers or chat rooms if you do have other questions.