UnitedHealthcare has released a DVD called “Medicare Explicado” to help Spanish-speaking Medicare beneficiaries learn more about their health care coverage options.

Maria Antonieta Collins narrated UnitedHealthcare’s informational DVD “Medicare Explicado” to help address gaps in Spanish-language Medicare resources

Hosted by popular TV personality and author Maria Antonieta Collins, “Medicare Explicado” answers questions about both Medicare and Medicaid in a culturally relevant, easy-to-understand and engaging way, helping to address disparities in health care that prevent Hispanics from achieving optimal health.

Understanding and enrolling in Medicare can be challenging, especially given the impact of health reform on the program. The health reform law has brought changes to Medicare, most notably to the Annual Election Period and the Part D prescription drug program. This year, the enrollment period began one month earlier, on Oct. 15, and ends Dec. 7, three weeks earlier than in previous years. New discounts on prescription drugs will also be available to beneficiaries who fall into the coverage gap, or “donut hole,” in 2012.

These challenges are often compounded for the more than 9 million Americans who are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid, also known as “dual-eligibles.” Medicare and Medicaid both provide government-sponsored health insurance. However, they differ in many ways, including eligibility criteria, enrollment procedures and the types of services that are covered. It is important for dual-eligibles to understand both programs to ensure they are taking full advantage of the health care services and preventive screenings available to them.

Navigating Medicare and Medicaid can be especially challenging for Hispanics who do not speak English or people who speak English as a second language.

Delivering Key Medicare, Medicaid Information in a Consumer-Friendly Way

“Medicare Explicado” is designed to enhance Hispanic Medicare beneficiaries’ understanding of their health care options. It details how Medicare and Medicaid work and addresses different aspects of the programs, including eligibility, enrollment procedures and tips for choosing a plan. The information is delivered in a simple, easy-to-understand way by Collins, a well-known and trusted journalist in the Hispanic community.

“Throughout my news career, I learned about our health care system and Medicare, yet I found that as much as I had learned, there were still many details I didn’t know,” said Collins. “As I get older, I have more health care needs, but I take care of myself. Unfortunately, many of my fellow Latinos can’t or don’t know how to access our health care system. This ‘tell-it-like-it-is’ video is a useful tool to point them in the right direction.”

“Medicare Explicado” was developed using content from UnitedHealthcare’s Medicare Made Clear Show Me Guide. Throughout the 38-minute DVD, Collins directs viewers to ask their UnitedHealthcare representative for a printed copy of the Show Me Guide or to visit www.solucionesdemedicare.com if they have questions or want more details about any of the topics addressed in the DVD.

Millions of Older Hispanics Are Not Receiving Medicare-Covered Preventive Care

According to a March 2011 report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – in partnership with the Administration on Aging, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services – gaps exist among people who receive potentially life-saving preventive services and those who do not.

The report found that 47 percent of Hispanics indicated that they were not screened for colorectal cancer, compared with 34 percent of Caucasians. More than 50 percent of Hispanics reported never receiving a pneumococcal vaccination, compared with 36 percent of Caucasians.

According to the report, these disparities in accessing important preventive services cannot be attributed solely to patient-doctor interactions. The causes are complex and could include older adults’ lack of awareness of the services recommended for their age group or services that are covered by Medicare. To increase the use of preventive services in underserved communities, the report recommends several strategies, including building awareness through media.

“Medicare Explicado” can be viewed for free by logging on to www.solucionesdemedicare.com.

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