Navigating Medicare coverage options is about to become easier. If you’ve even had trouble using the Medicare Plan Finder, there’s good news. The Medicare Coverage Tools initiative promises to improve the tool, making comparing options and enrolling in a plan easier than ever.
The Medicare Coverage Tools Initiative
In a recent memo, CMS stated that the Medicare Coverage Tools initiative will make it easier to understand, shop for and enroll in Medicare by providing a suite of digital services.
Anyone trying to find and compare coverage options often turns to the Medicare Plan Finder, the online tool that provides a list of available plans. It’s great in theory, but some people have difficulty using it. In a 2018 report from the National Council on Aging, the Medicare Plan Finder earned a D or F grade in seven categories.
Improving the Medicare Plan Finder is a large part of the Medicare Coverage Tools initiative. CMS hopes to provide an improved user experience with integrated decision support and tailored experiences. The improvements will also include mobile optimization, so users will be able to find plans and enroll from their mobile devices. CMS is using consumer testing, surveys and web analytics in order to guide the changes.
The initiative will also require operational changes involving the Health Plan Management System. Starting with 2020 submissions, Medicare Part D providers will need to submit their drug pricing files using the Health Plan Management System. Additionally, all organizations will use this system to download Online Enrollment Center transactions.
Other Medicare Improvements
The announced improvements to the Medicare Plan Finder aren’t the only recent modernization efforts from CMS.
CMS expects enrollment in Medicare to reach 80 million by 2030, an increase of almost 50 percent. In order to meet the needs of this growing group, the agency is focusing on improving its digital tools. It makes sense. The internet has become an essential part of modern life, and while most people think of younger generations as being the most tech savvy, older Americans use the internet, too. They need online tools that are easy to use.
Recently, CMS launched its new app, What’s Covered, as part of the eMedicare initiative. With this app, anyone can use their smartphone to check coverage details and cost information for a variety of services covered under Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B.