The Problem with Medicare's Website

While Medicare has been through quite a bit of drama this year, there is a simpler question about the health care program we can ask ourselves in the meantime: is Medicare speaking to its users in a language they can understand? More specifically, is its website user-friendly?
Older Americans use the internet, and use it well; that's no big news to us. But a new study showed that three-fourths of older adults couldn't find a beneficial drug prescription plan on Medicare's website, as well as couldn't seem to figure out a way to sign up for home care service. In short, Medicare's website might not be as easy to navigate than it should be.
The researchers even did a brief training before the 112 participants aged 50 and older began to use the site. Some subjects even stopped searching after a while. Researcher Sara Czaja, co-director of the Center on Aging at the University of Miami Medical School, says, "There are some problems ... some design features with the site that make it difficult for people to use, and they can't get the maximum value out of it," adding, "Some of them just gave up trying."
A CMS spokesperson said that while they've done their own extensive research to make sure the site's navigation is easy to handle, and "[m]ore research is probably needed to assess the usability of the site, and should be performed by people who have a basic understanding of the size and complexity of the program."
Speaking of questions about Medicare, AARP.org has a feature up, " Ask Ms. Medicare" with this week's question: When should I sign up for Medicare? Check it out!

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