Most of you probably remember a few glitches in the rollout of changes to the 2019 Medicare Plan Finder. Now, as we start to prepare for the next AEP, the Plan Finder is receiving more updates. Here’s a quick recap of last year and what you can expect from the Plan Finder this year. Also, learn more about a new WAP tool – Medicare Enrollment Express at the end of this article.
Problems with the 2019 Updates
CMS released the new Medicare Plan Finder in August 2019. It was a mobile-friendly tool that was supposed to make it easier to shop for Medicare plans on the go. It also included additional details on Medicare Advantage plans and a drug list builder that suggested previously filled prescriptions and allowed users to search for brand name drugs and lower-cost generics.
While this all sounded good, the rollout did not go as smoothly as some had hoped. Old drug lists from the previous system could not be exported to the new system, meaning that the information had to be re-entered, and anonymous lists could not be saved.
According to Think Advisor, other problems made it difficult to compare plans effectively. For example, the estimated cost total did not change to reflect added personal data, and the value of supplemental benefits was not included.
Changes on Tap for 2020
Despite the problems that occurred during the last AEP, there may be good news. The National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU) says CMS has outlined several additional changes to the Medicare Plan Finder.
Perhaps most importantly, users can sort plans based on “Lowest Drug Cost + Premium” instead of just “Lowest Premium.” This is very important because the cost of the premium is not the only expense that beneficiaries should consider. Along with this change, the format has been altered. Reportedly, this has occurred to reduce the font size of the premium amount because that information is not the most important factor to consider.
A Forbes article on the recent changes points out that these changes mean that $0 premium plans no longer automatically appear first, and Medicare Advantage plans without drug coverage now appear at the end of the list.
NAHU says that additional changes are planned for July and August, ahead of this year’s AEP. These changes should include a Medigap quoting tool, pre-filling of the online enrollment form for authenticated users, pharmacy search enhancements, drug frequency options for prescriptions filled only once or twice a year, and tweaks to the print pages.
The current Medicare Plan Finder appears to be a work in progress, and even more changes are planned for 2021.
Get Ready for AEP with Plan Finder and Medicare Enrollment Express
AEP will be here before you know it. To maximize your success, make sure you’re familiar with the new Plan Finder.
Also, get ready for WAP’s all-new Medicare Enrollment Express, which is our new consumer-facing Comparison and Enrollment Tool. This tool goes beyond the Medicare.gov by allowing you to:
- Save prescriptions WITHOUT having a client create an account
- Send a SCOPE and get it back digitally and compliantly
- Send clients a link to enroll
- Coming soon: Text a SCOPE or an enrollment
We will offer training on this new WAP tool starting in August, and deep dives at WAPCon in September. Be sure to register for WAPCon today if you haven’t already done so.