When it comes to healthcare, it isn’t as simple as just being a member of a plan and going forward blindly year in and year out. Each year, there is an enrolment period during which beneficiaries are to assess their current plans in comparison to other plans and to check whether they are covered for their particular needs. To help beneficiaries to understand other plans and to make the correct selections, Medicare has taken the initiative to have a technological tool that does just the job – the Plan Finder tool, an online tool that takes a lot of work off the shoulders of Medicare counselors. However, the tool just underwent a makeover.
Medicare’s Online PlanFinder just Had a Makeover
Medicare lately took to improving its online Plan Finder, a simple and effective tool designed for any individual with a private Medicare health plan or a drug insurance plan to utilize for comparing the coverage and costs of various plans that are to be offered in 2020. Why is this important? Because nearly 22 million individuals are members of Medicare Advantage plans and over 45 million individuals are members of part D drug plans, that’s why!
The New Changes
The improved site was launched in August of 2019 as more like a test drive than anything else, but many insiders are of the opinion that the site will end up being a large improvement in the accessibility of Medicare enrolment, what with it being an open enrolment experience for consumers.
The New Site May Be a Challenge
The new site offers many improvements as promised by Medicare. In spite of this, it is a concern of a handful of Medicare counseling groups that some consumers may find the newly improved tool confusing, and this is a valid concern because there is only a short period of time for people to adjust to the new tool before the enrolment period for 2020 is over, which ends on December 7th. This means that many people who may not have understood the new tool could face difficulty in choosing their plans for 2020, and the enrolment period is days away! New plans can be chosen as of January 1st. Also, a concern is that insurance brokers, as well as nonprofit counseling agencies, may find the new tool confusing as they try to help beneficiaries to make their enrollment selections.
It’s been reported that counselors have actually requested training on the new Plan Finder tool, which could ultimately save plenty of time in the long run, but will inevitably make the enrolment season slightly more congested and time-consuming for both beneficiaries as well as counselors.
Unfortunately for members who previously used the Plan Finder, the old tool allowed beneficiaries to save their personal data on their platform, like lists of prescription drugs, protected by passwords, and this saved information has not been transferred to the new Plan Finder. Needless to say, this has caused a rather huge disruption among users and even more unfortunate is that the government doesn’t have a good excuse as to why such a change was made without carrying over the saved information. The good news, though, is that the new Plan Finder tool is equipped with programming, allowing it to easily pull information from an individual’s My Medicare online account. So if beneficiaries have populated their profiles or accounts with their full information, it will be an easy and painless transition to the new Plan Finder tool!
In light of the fact that there are only days before the open enrolment period closes, it is especially important that beneficiaries read carefully through their exiting Medicare plans and the ones for which they are interested in enrolling. Existing customers are aware of these changes taking place as all insurers were instructed to inform customers by the end of September 2019 already. A large companion document was sent as well, with an explanation of everything the coverage includes. There have also been updates made to the Medicare & You Guide for all Medicare plans in 2020.
So, ultimately all Medicare members have to make sure that they do is to read all the details on the plans they are considering and check that their information is loaded onto the Medicare system. In the event that the information is absent, it will have to be entered into the new tool so that users can better understand the changes made to the 2020 plans. With a good understanding and with a fully filled in account on the new Plan Find tool, users can make sure that they have a successful enrolment this period, and enjoy the most fitting cover for 2020!