Immediate Release:        Thursday, September 18, 2008           
Contact:        CMS Office of Public Affairs
202-690-6145         


NEW CMS INITIATIVE HELPS TO ASSIST AND
IDENTIFY INDIVIDUALS WHO CARE FOR
MEDICARE BENEFICIARIES AS CAREGIVERS

ASK MEDICARE PROVIDES ONLINE
INFORMATION, TOOLS, AND MATERIALS FOR
CAREGIVERS




The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) today launched Ask Medicare, a
new initiative to help family caregivers –those who are family members or friends who
help people with Medicare -- access and use valuable healthcare information, services
and resources.
More than 44 million Americans, more than one in five adults, provide care to a loved
one, friend or neighbor, valued in economic terms at $350 billion annually, according to
a recent report by AARP. The new initiative will provide a one-stop Web page for
caregivers (www.medicare.gov/caregivers) that provides easy access to useful
information about Medicare and other essential resources to help with caregiving.
“Caregivers are often overwhelmed and as part of this new education effort called Ask
Medicare will bea single, go-to place for help and information,” said Kerry Weems, CMS
acting administrator. “There is a genuine need for credible and easy to use information
that provides answers to a wide range of questions toward helping beneficiaries make
better use of Medicare. The Ask Medicare Web site was designed with family caregivers
in mind.”
The CMS, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), launched
the new caregiver initiative through a live Webcast hosted by Acting Administrator
Weems. During the live online forum, national partner organizations, including HHS’
Administration on Aging, AARP, and the National Alliance for Caregiving, joined CMS in
answering questions from caregivers.
Information to Help You Care for Others

Most caregivers do not think of or identify themselves
as caregivers; yet, so many of the resources
available to them use that term. “If a person helping
someone on Medicare does not relate to the term
‘caregiver,’ they may miss a lot of resources,” said
Weems.
Many family caregivers see their roles of providing
help or service to someone they care about as simply
“the right thing to do” because the person is a family
member or a friend. Family caregivers provide help
that includes:

  • buying groceries;
  • picking up prescriptions;
  • taking someone to the doctor;
  • helping an elderly parent navigate benefits and
    plan for the future;
  • looking after someone with a disease or disability;
    or
  • caring for a parent in their home.

The Ask Medicare Web site will provide links to key partner organizations that assist
caregivers and beneficiaries, and present personal stories from caregivers in the
community. Support information and tools to help caregivers address common problems
will also be available. As part of the initiative, CMS will launch an e-newsletter for
caregivers that will deliver information into subscribers’ email boxes.
“Through Ask Medicare and the new e-newsletter, CMS will help provide more
information to caregivers, helping to streamline caring for Medicare beneficiaries and
ultimately improve their quality of life and that of their loved ones,” said Weems.
For more information about Medicare’s new caregiver initiative,

please visit: www.medicare.gov/caregivers.
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