Whether it’s Medicare Part A, Medicare Part B, Medicare Part D, or Medicare Advantage you are looking for, the medicare.gov Plan Finder Tool is meant to be a comprehensive search tool to lead you to the right plan for you.
New report gives Plan Finder a failing grade
But recently, a report from the National Council on Aging and the Clear Choices Campaign showed that this online tool is fraught with many problems. Among the issues found with Medicare’s Plan Finder are:
- No human help
- Confusing terms without easily accessible definitions
- Not letting the consumer know if a plan covers their preferred doctor or pharmacy
- Confusing layout
- Not letting consumers know if their prescriptions are covered by a plan
- User design potentially misleading
- Out-of-pocket cost info difficult to understand
- Provider and pharmacy directories hard to navigate
- Medigap plans not included in plan comparisons
- Information on quality star ratings of Medicare plans confusing
- Some inaccurate information
Medicare’gov’s Plan Finder did get high marks in anonymous browsing, letting the user browse plans before creating an account, and being able to view the information in Spanish.
Suggestions for improvements
The report suggested that Medicare work with the private sector to create a state-of-the-art ecommerce site. They suggested making such changes as more precise cost amounts, detailed cost estimates based on a person’s personal info, and plainer language.
After the somewhat scathing report from the National Council on Aging and the Clear Choices Campaign, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has vowed to make vital changes to the medicare.gov Plan Finder before Medicare open enrollment starts on October 15, 2018.
CMS to improve Plan Finder tool
Since thousands of Americans use the Plan Finder tool to enroll in Medicare, it’s important that it’s clear and transparent so that people can choose the right plan for them. In fact, a study done by Yale and MIT researchers found that due to the confusing nature of the site, many people 65 and older did not choose the best plan for them in the past.
Some of the new tools the CMS vowed to unveil before 2018 Medicare open enrollment are:
- A mobile out-of-pocket cost calculator for prescription drugs
- A simplified login process for the Plan Finder tool
- A webchat option