Department of Health and Human Services

Plain Language for Describing Medical Services to Seniors

To help seniors better understand what their health care providers are billing/charging the Medicare program, beneficiaries' Medicare Summary Notices should include plain language about services billed to Medicare by inpatient and outpatient providers. Most seniors do not understand the scientific and medical names of certain diseases and body parts. Therefore, they may not be able to report fraud and abuse. By using clear language in beneficiaries' Medicare Summary Notices, seniors will be able to more clearly understand what the Government is paying on their behalf.

 

Example: Rather than simply citing the Medicare "Procedure Code Number" and "Long Description" (ex: 1574 - Malignant neoplasm of islets of langerhans), Medicare should tell seniors - in plain language - what their providers have billed for. Using plain language,1574 could include the description: "Malignant cancer of the pancreas."

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Idea No. 285