By 2030, about 80 million Americans are projected to become eligible for Medicare, underscoring a need to make services easy to use for widespread adoption.1 In 2019, satisfaction with aspects of Medicare’s customer support remained high, including assistance from the 1-800 MEDICARE contact center. CMS also launched a multiyear eMedicare initiative to modernize the health care experience for patients online, on the phone and on other channels. The agency made significant upgrades to online customer options, such as a tool to help people find the best Medicare plan for their needs—making it easier for customers to explore and understand plan options.
When the coronavirus pandemic hit in early 2020, CMS successfully transitioned more than 2,000 Medicare contact center employees to telework in just a few weeks—a process that agency staff estimate could normally take up to eight months—largely without hindering its ability to provide customer service.
Based on insights from customer research, CMS found it can be hard for caregivers to access claims information and health care records needed to help manage the Medicare benefits of people they support. The agency is planning an option for caregivers to create their own online accounts that link to the account information for the people they assist—potentially allowing them to manage benefits for multiple people (e.g., both their parents) with one login.
Data at a Glance
of callers to the 1-800 MEDICARE line rated their experience as “very good” or “excellent” in fiscal 2019
people were enrolled in Medicare as of June 2020
Individuals enrolled or seeking to enroll in Medicare, and their caregivers.
- 64 million people were enrolled in Medicare as of June 2020 (60 million as of Sept. 2019).
- Answers to questions about medical services, tests and drugs Medicare covers.
- Help with understanding coverage options and shopping for, comparing and enrolling in Medicare health plans, Medicare prescription drug plans or both.
- Information about Medicare premiums.
- Assistance with finding and comparing Medicare health care providers.
- Assistance with coordinating Medicare benefits.
- Information and answers to questions about claims and payments.