While looking for healthcare options in the US, it’s important that you find assistance from an in-network provider if you have insurance (lest you suffer sticker shock once you see your bill). And while Google already makes that easy, some people depend on federal programs rather than private insurance. If you need help enrolling in Medicare and/or Medicaid, want to know more about plans, or find healthcare providers that accept them, Google is making it easier to find whatever you need on its search results.
As part of Google’s Health Equity Summit, the company announced a few changes to Search that will make it easier for people enrolled in Medicare and/or Medicaid to find the help they need and for those wanting to enroll. While searching for Medicare/Medicaid options, Google will give you easy access to eligibility requirements and steps to enroll as well as other helpful resources if you’re already enrolled or not.
This can help people navigate and get the info they need without looking around too much, which can be helpful. In the case of Medicare in particular, enrollees are over 65 years of age, and many of them probably aren’t too tech-savvy. And for heads of low-income households who already have busy lives making it from paycheck to paycheck, spending any time getting coverage under Medicaid is too much time. And if you didn’t know, yes, you can sign up for both programs if you’re eligible for them. Now you know.
And if you need to find a healthcare provider that accepts Medicare and/or Medicaid, Google also has your back. For folks on Medicaid, you’ll be able to filter nearby healthcare providers who take Medicaid in addition to the existing Medicare filter, letting you more easily come across healthcare providers that accept your specific plan. A government report (via Healthcare Dive) says 85% of physicians signing up new patients will accept Medicare while only 71% take Medicaid, so Medicaid recipients do need the extra help.
Google is the search engine of choice for many people, so this addition will give a ton of people some good starting points in managing changes in their healthcare. A big part of making healthcare better is to make it easier to find info and be informed, and we’re glad to see Google taking action here. It should be rolling out in the coming weeks — possibly ahead of open enrollment season come November.