Healthcare Blog

CMS, Others, Use Podcasts To Communicate With Seniors About Medicare

April 20, 2017

The Hill on Wednesday examined how CMS and other organizations have begun using podcasts to communicate with Medicare beneficiaries. For example, over the past year, the Center for Medicare Advocacy has uploaded eight podcasts on its Web site with information on the Medicare prescription drug benefit and changes to Medicare Part B premiums. An average of 250 people have downloaded each podcast, and 45 people have subscribed to the updates. Former Sen. Bob Dole (R-Kan.) and former HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson are among several officials who have released podcasts discussing Medicare. Proponents of "different outreach methods contend that uncommon tactics might get the information to seniors," The Hill reports. However, Medicare Rights Center President Robert Hayes said, "The folks that need assistance the most are least likely to know what an iPod is. You have to search pretty far to find a significant number of people with Medicare using an iPod. There are probably several hundred more effective ways to reach out to inform people." According to Jupiter Research, 8% of adults who have used the Internet have also listened to or downloaded a podcast, and of those people, 9.6% are ages 55 and older. The Hill reports that it has "been a constant struggle getting" information about the benefit to Medicare beneficiaries who are elderly and may have low incomes "and have difficulty using a computer or understanding reading materials." Matthew Shepard, publications coordinator for CMA, said, "We are trying to reach that next generation." He added that the podcasts are intended for "students studying health policy" who will become "future advocates" and that the number of people accessing the podcasts is increasing (McCormack, The Hill, 11/29).

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