Comments: 2019 Medicare Plan Finder Review

On behalf of the Medicare Rights Center, I am writing to applaud CMS’s efforts to redesign Medicare Plan Finder (MPF) and to highlight opportunities to further improve the tool before the upcoming Fall Open Enrollment period begins on October 15.

Medicare Rights is a national, nonprofit organization that works to ensure access to affordable health care for older adults and people with disabilities through counseling and advocacy, educational programs, and public policy initiatives. Medicare Rights provides services and resources to three million people with Medicare, family caregivers, and professionals each year.
Based on this experience, we know that for many people with Medicare, evaluating health care and prescription drug coverage options can be a daunting task. Not only is the plan selection process dizzyingly complex, but the federal government’s primary enrollment assistance tool—MPF—has long needed updating.

Though MPF was developed to help consumers view, compare, and select Medicare Advantage and Part D plans, we frequently hear from older adults and people with disabilities who are struggling to use the tool or understand its results. Some may be having access or technical problems, while others may not know how to conduct a search or what to do with the generated information.
Accordingly, we were pleased to learn that the tool would be undergoing a comprehensive modernization. Unveiled last month, the new MPF features an improved overall design, presents information in a way that more closely aligns with the consumer decision-making experience, and seems to lay the groundwork for future updates and enhancements. Medicare Rights has consistently advocated for these reforms and we are pleased to see them incorporated in the redesigned tool.

We have also identified several opportunities for CMS to further strengthen MPF prior to this year’s Fall Open Enrollment period.

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