Reuters: U.S. Medicare readies new plan-shopping website, but timing prompts concerns

“Medicare experts often advise enrollees to re-shop their plan coverage during the annual fall open enrollment period. This is the time when you can make unlimited changes to your prescription drug or Medicare Advantage coverage, and shopping the market can help you save money and make sure you get a best-fit plan.”

“The shopping trip often begins with the Medicare Plan Finder – the official government site that posts plan offerings. The plan finder allows you to plug in your Medicare number and list of medications, and then displays local options that fit your needs, and premiums you will pay.”

“But Plan Finder has some problems. Studies have found that users are often confused by the site’s navigation, and that information is often incomplete or incorrect. Even expert counselors who are trained to help enrollees with their selections give the site poor marks when it comes to ease of finding information, incomplete information and how pricing is displayed.”

“Now, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is preparing to relaunch the Plan Finder website in order to address some of the problems. CMS will introduce the new site by Labor Day on Sept. 2, according to Raymond Thorn, a spokesman…”

“Fried also worries about the timing of the rollout, with fall enrollment coming. ‘They are rushing this – people who use this and help enroll millions of older adults haven’t been trained, and they haven’t been able to train their thousands of volunteers.’”

“‘With any change of this magnitude, with tens of millions of people relying on a system to make decisions about HC, you need more than a month,’ she said, recalling the troubled 2013 rollout of the insurance exchange website launched as part of the Affordable Care Act.” Read the full article here.

Source: U.S. Medicare readies new plan-shopping website, but timing prompts concerns – By Mark Miller, August 22, 2019. Reuters.

 

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