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Tech review: These apps can help you manage your health care

The MyChart app coordinates with many health care

The MyChart app coordinates with many health care organizations. Credit: Newsday/Epic Systems

Over the past year, most of us have been worried about our health more than ever. These apps are aimed at empowering you to make better health care choices.

Teladoc

(iOS, Android; free)

With Teladoc, you can hold phone or video consultations with board-certified doctors available 24 hours a day who can also prescribe medications. But there are some caveats: While the app is free, the services are not. Many costs are covered by health insurers, so check your coverage. Original Medicare (Parts A and B) does not cover most services, but many Medicare Advantage and Medicaid managed care plans do. Before any consultations, update the app with your medical history.

GoodRX

(iOS, Android; free)

Even when they are covered by health insurance or Medicare, drugs can be expensive because of copays. Without insurance, many can’t afford medications at all. Add to the mix that the same drug often costs a different amount at various pharmacies. GoodRX, a go-to medications app for years, shows you the best price for drugs at pharmacies near you. It also offers coupons to help lower the prices further on some drugs.

MyChart

(iOS, Android; free)

Because so many are trying to manage their medical information, it’s good to have all the data in the palm of your hand — which you can literally do with a phone and this app. MyChart works with many but not all health-care organizations. (You will need activation information from your provider.) Once set up, you can use MyChart to review test results and medical history, get alerts, make doctor’s appointments and communicate with your health providers.

MyTherapy Pill Reminder

(iOS, Android; free)

As the pandemic grinds on, it’s hard to remember the time to take a pill when you often don’t even know what day it is. MyTherapy Pill Reminder will send you alerts when it’s time for your medication, but it does more. It’s also a medication tracker, so you can see a history of all the drugs you have taken, which you can share with your doctors and pharmacists. It can also let you know when it’s time to refill your prescriptions.

Broken hearts

Online romance scams soared in 2020, raking in a record $304 million, up 50 percent from 2019, according to the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC said this equates to an average loss of $2,500 per victim. In romance scams, cybercriminals pose as potential dates, gain a victim’s trust, and ask for money needed for some emergency. The scam is spread on dating apps and social media platforms like Facebook.

— PETER KING

Netflix rolls out automatic downloads

If you watch Netflix on your Android devices, the streaming service has launched a new feature that automatically downloads movies and shows based on your viewing selections. When you opt-in to Downloads for You, Netflix sends you up to 5GB of content it believes you want to watch. Netflix says it is testing the feature for iOS, and expects it to be available soon.

— PETER KING

Microsoft nixes subscription increase

After outrage from users, Microsoft conceded it “messed up” and backtracked on a plan to double the price of an annual subscription to Xbox Live Gold to $120. Gamers were outraged that Microsoft announced the plan to raise the cost so drastically for its paid online gaming platform, especially during the pandemic, when people have been spending more time on screens than usual and unemployment has risen.

— BLOOMBERG NEWS

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