SENIORS - WARNING - Medicare's Plan Finder Website Errors During Open Enrollment
The Medicare Plan Finder webpage went through an extreme make-over for this years open enrollment period. Needless to say, there were errors. Medicare tried to stay on top of getting the errors corrected but all errors may not have been corrected.
Open enrollment to pick a Medicare Advantage plan OR a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan for 2020 ends tomorrow December 07, 2019.
A few Senators have approached Medicare about this issue. They want a Special Enrollment Period for those who discover next year they made a wrong choice due to inaccurate Plan Finder information.
In the statement to KHN Wednesday, CMS said it provides special enrollment periods for a number of reasons. It added that beneficiaries can get a special enrollment period related to Plan Finder issues anytime next year.
They can “call 1-800-MEDICARE and explain to our call center representatives that they have an issue with their plan choice. It is not CMS’s expectation that beneficiaries will have documentation or screenshots,” the statement said. The call center representatives “are trained and ready to help the beneficiary through the rest of the process.”
CMS officials refused to be identified but would not give a reason.
Information about Plan Finder special enrollment periods will be available on the Medicare.gov website and at the call center, a CMS spokesman said.
However, nothing was posted on the website Thursday, and when Kaiser Health News called Medicare twice Thursday, both representatives said it would not be possible to switch plans next year because of inaccurate information from the Plan Finder.
Applying for a special enrollment period could be tricky. In the blog post, Medicare officials said the information on the Plan Finder is “the most current and accurate information on premiums, deductibles and cost sharing that Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plans provide.” They noted that the “information changes frequently because plans regularly update drug formularies and renegotiate drug prices.”
America’s Health Insurance Plans, the trade group representing health insurers, “is not aware of any systematic problems with the Plan Finder, which is operated by CMS,” said spokeswoman Cathryn Donaldson.
People who enroll in a private Medicare Advantage policy, an alternative to traditional government-run Medicare that covers both drugs and medical care, already have an alternative. They have until March 31 to change plans or enroll in traditional Medicare.
~ refer to the above link for more info ~
I will try to post any updates that might be issued by Medicare in case you get stuck with a plan that isn't what you bargained for based on the info on the Medicare Plan finder.
The contract for completely redesigning the Medicare Plan Finder was awarded to the software design and engineering company Ad Hoc, which describes itself as being born from “the successful effort to rescue HealthCare.gov after its disastrous initial launch.” The federal online insurance marketplace, a major component of the Affordable Care Act, crashed within hours of launching in 2013, and additional technical problems kept it from functioning properly for weeks. (remember that one!)
In July 2018, Greg Gershman, Ad Hoc’s CEO and co-founder, announced that his company had won the contract for developing a replacement plan finder as part of the Medicare Coverage Tools initiative.
It did need to be redesigned based on better software - but sounds like they missed the mark in adequately testing the program - maybe they need to hire some tech-savy seniors with a lot of medicines to test it for them and maybe even some with limited to NO skills to really test it adequately.
Well, unless something happens, it will be all over tomorrow -
A friend of mine who is an agent and helps people with this sort of thing remarked to me how tired he was from this year's open enrollment. I think he already knows that the mess might not be over.
BOO, Government - seniors depended on you to get this right.
@GailL1 Medicare PF is improved since the official roll out 10/1 but far from trustworthy. I could give you a list of the MANY flaws, not the least of which is DON'T TRUST THE COPAY'S TO BE CORRECT.
New PF was "vetted" by some 60 800 MEDICARE reps and SHIP counselors. They pronounced it "ready for Prime Time".
During the last 10 days or so of AEP clients and strangers were coming out of the woodwork asking for help in finding a 2020 drug plan. Had to develop a backup plan for clients and told non-clients to go to 800 MEDICARE. The place where they use the default sort feature that ranks plans from the lowest PREMIUM.
What idiot thought that was a good idea?
Not very comforting that the folks who "saved" HC.gov were contracted to "fix" Medicare PF.
How can you fix something and make it completely useless and worse than it was before.
Reagan was right. Most feared words in the English language are "I'm from the government and here to help you".