ProPublica: $11 Million Dollar Medicare Tool That Gives Seniors the Wrong Insurance Information

“The federal government recently redesigned a digital tool that helps seniors navigate complicated Medicare choices, but consumer advocates say it’s malfunctioning with alarming frequency, offering inaccurate cost estimates and creating chaos in some states during the open enrollment period…”

“More than 60 million people use Medicare, which covers those over 65 and the disabled. Users have to pick their plans annually. The current open enrollment period ends Dec. 7. Medicare advisers — as well as advocates for seniors — worry that the full weight of the tool’s inaccuracies will not be felt until the 2020 coverage year begins and seniors head to pharmacies to fill prescriptions or show up for medical appointments. For many Medicare participants, selections made during open enrollment are irreversible…”

CMS said this is the first time since the Medicare Plan Finder was developed in 2005 that the tool has been redesigned. The complete rebuild was necessary, it said, because legacy technology and ‘proprietary software’ couldn’t keep pace with ‘the needs of today’s digital audience’ and because the explosion in options available to seniors under various plans.”

“Millions of Medicare beneficiaries use the plan finder to reevaluate their insurance choices during open enrollment. The tool drives traffic to Medicare.gov, where users may filter, sort and compare choices. A recent Kaiser Family Foundation analysis found that beneficiaries will have an average of 28 Medicare Advantage plans and 28 prescription drug plans to choose from in 2020. As of Friday, there was no alert on the federal website warning of possible inaccuracies because of the redesign…” Read the full article here.

Source: $11 Million Dollar Medicare Tool That Gives Seniors the Wrong Insurance Information – By Akilah Johnson, November 25, 2019. ProPublica.

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