As we have done in the past, CAHC has completed an assessment of the revamped on-line Medicare Plan Finder tool that allows Medicare beneficiaries to shop and enroll in Medicare coverage (Medicare.gov). Our report card and a two-pager explaining the project are linked HERE.
Our topline takeaway from our research is that the CMS upgrades made the site more aesthetically pleasing and on par with other web shopping and enrollment tools, but the functionality of the site is the same, and in some cases worse than before, based on our criteria.
Our recommendations include both:
- Short term fixes to the most glaring problems (sort on premiums instead of OOP costs. As a result, many Medicare beneficiaries may buy the cheapest plan based on premium that fails to cover most of their costs).
- Beginning in 2021, CMS should provide information on plans only. Beneficiaries would sign up for coverage on private web sites.
While CAHC is appreciative of CMS efforts to improve the site, our report card further solidifies our view that government is ill suited to provide modern e-commerce tools. First, it requires significant appropriations, which Congress is unlikely to devote. Second, CMS isn’t Amazon nor the dozens of exchange tools available on the private market. It doesn’t have tens of thousands of employees coding and making sure each consumer has a great experience.
Beneficiaries need information to shop and enroll in the plan that best meets their individual needs.