This annual election period, Medicare beneficiaries will have many Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D plans to choose from. To help enrollees compare options, Medicare provides the online Medicare Plan Finder tool. This year, the tool will be a little different due to a recent redesign.

The eMedicare Initiative

The eMedicare Initiative began in 2018 with the goal of providing simple tools to help Medicare beneficiaries. The updated Medicare Plan Finder is part of this initiative.

According to CMS, the redesigned Medicare Plan Finder makes it easier for beneficiaries to do the following:

  • Compare price differences between Original Medicare, Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement Insurance and Medicare Prescription Drug Plans.
  • Compare options using a smartphone or tablet. In 2018, approximately 25 percent of Medicare beneficiaries used a mobile device to access the Medicare Plan Finder, which represents a 40 percent increase compared to the previous year.
  • Compare up to three Medicare Advantage plans or up to three Medicare Part D plans side-by-side.
  • See information on plan costs or benefits, including new benefits offered by Medicare Advantage plans.
  • Create a personal drug list and see which drug plans provide coverage.

Problems May Remain

With so many options, comparing Medicare plans is no easy task. Despite the improvements to the Medicare Plan Finder, beneficiaries may still experience problems while using the tool.

An article published in Forbes claims that many of the problems identified in the GAO report have not been addressed by the redesigned Medicare Plan Finder, and new problems may have been added. For example, the terminology that may have confused some beneficiaries is still present. Additionally, the sort feature makes it difficult to separate Medicare Advantage plans that include prescription coverage from those that do not.

Preview the new Medicare Plan Finder and decide for yourself whether it’s a significant improvement. If you become familiar with the tool now, you’ll be ready to answer questions from your clients.