Changes Coming to the Medicare Plan Finder
The Medicare Plan Finder (MPF) is the primary tool for Medicare recipients to understand and choose the best coverage options for them. The MPF was designed to assist beneficiaries, caregivers, and unbiased counselors in comparing different coverages, but a recent report from the Government Accounting Office (GAO) reflects issues with the current system.
The GAO is a non-partisan, independent agency that reviews how taxpayer dollars are spent. It then reports to Congress or other governmental agencies with unbiased, reliable information. It was charged with reviewing the MPF tool and evaluating it as a resource for Medicare beneficiaries and their families.
According to the Medicare Rights Center, the “GAO found that MPF is difficult for people with Medicare to use, in part due to its overly complex navigation and abundance of health insurance industry jargon that many beneficiaries do not understand. The report also notes that the information supplied via the tool is incomplete. For example, there is no way for beneficiaries to compare prices between Original Medicare—with or without a Medigap supplemental plan and/or a Part D drug plan—and a Medicare Advantage plan; and MPF also does not allow users to search for Medicare Advantage plans by participating providers, so there is little ability to see which plans include which doctors in their networks—a priority for many people with Medicare who want to keep their current providers”.
Even though the MPF is currently being revamped, the government has added new complexities to Medicare thus making decision-making more difficult than ever. “Without solid information, tools, and assistance, people with Medicare cannot make the best choices for their individual circumstances. MPF must be robust, unbiased, and user friendly to ensure beneficiaries have access to the information they need.” (Julie Carter, Medicare Rights Center, August 1, 2019)
Given the MPF’s shortcomings, it helps to have “another set of eyes” – an objective third party who understands the complexities of Medicare and the MPF – especially with new legislation and regulations affecting Medicare Advantage Plans. The Balanced Budget Act of 2018 and regulatory changes, including those in the 2019 Part C and D final rule and the Final Call Letter for 2019, enable insurers greater latitude in changing plan benefits and targeting consumers.
One should review their Medicare options regularly to make the best decisions for their Medicare coverage. My Medicare Guy is available to assist in navigating the MPF and finding the right plan for you.