1. News
  2. /
  3. Health

Medicare’s online Plan Finder gets an overhaul

The most-used tool on will look different this year.
Medicare's online Plan Finder has been redesigned and is available at [THOMAS TOBIN | Tampa Bay Times]
Published Oct. 14
Updated Oct. 15

The biggest change in Medicare for 2020 is to the online Plan Finder, which for the first time in a decade has been “modernized and redesigned,” according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

The Plan Finder, available at, has been revamped “to meet the needs of a growing number of tech savvy beneficiaries,” according to a news release from CMS, as part of the Trump administration’s eMedicare initiative.

Despite the update, “online tools do not replace Medicare’s traditional customer service options,” CMS says, and customers still have access to the “Medicare & You” handbook and can continue to get help at toll-free 1-800-633-4227. The open enrollment period runs from Oct. 15 through Dec. 7.

According to CMS, the new Plan Finder makes it easier to, among other things:

  • Compare pricing among Original Medicare, Medicare Advantage, Part D and supplemental plans side-by-side.
  • Compare coverage options on smartphones and tablets.
  • Build a personal drug list and find Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage that works best for them.

Navigating the new Plan Finder, however, might not be completely smooth sailing, and there may be a bit of a learning curve.

There has been criticism that the new Plan Finder’s search results are missing important details, including which plan offers the best value.

According to Kaiser Health News, the Plan Finder “can no longer add up and sort through the prescription costs plus monthly premiums and any deductibles for all those plans. A mere human can try, but it is a cumbersome process fraught with pitfalls.”

That problem appears to be resolved, though some other features may still not be functioning correctly, Kaiser reported. The old Plan Finder is no longer available.

Another source of help is SHINE, Florida’s health insurance assistance program, which offers free, unbiased insurance counseling to elders, caregivers and family members. Contact the program’s Elder Helpline at 1-800-963-5337.


  1. Dr. Philip Adler treated generations of Tampa children, including Hannah Millman, who was 2 years old at the time of this visit. Times (1985)
    The Tampa pediatrician also played a prominent role in desegregating local hospital care.
  2. Reginald Ferguson, center, a resident of the Kenwood Inn in St. Petersburg, talks with Rachel Ilic, an environmental epidemiologist, left, and Fannie Vaughn, right, a nurse with the Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County. The health team was encouraging residents to get vaccinated against hepatitis A, part of a larger effort to address an outbreak of the virus in Florida. SCOTT KEELER  |  Tampa Bay Times
    The effort started in Pinellas, where health department “foot teams” are knocking on doors in neighborhoods at higher risk for the virus.
  3. A nurse at Tampa General Hospital holds a special stethoscope used for critical patients in the Jennifer Leigh Muma Neonatal Intensive Care Unit there. The hospital received a C grade from Leapfrog, an independent nonprofit which ranks hospitals nationally for patient safety. Times (2018)
    Leapfrog, an independent nonprofit, rated hospitals based on hand washing, infection rates, patient falls and other factors.
  4. Most of the time (55%), older spouses are caregiving alone as husbands or wives come to the end of their lives, without help from their children, other family members or friends or paid home health aides, according to research published earlier this year. [Times (2011)]
    Compared to adult children who care for their parents, spouses perform more tasks and assume greater physical and financial burdens when they become caregivers.
  5. “Coming out,” as providers call it, is not easy. But when people ask her specialty, Dr. Jewel Brown of Tampa owns it. She wants to be an abortion provider. Becoming one, she has found, takes determination at every step of the way. MONICA HERNDON  |  Times
    Florida providers seek training and work extra hours to give patients anything they might need.
  6. Nurses at Tampa General Hospital came up with the idea to turn sterile mats used in the operating room into sleeping bags for the homeless. From left are: Lucy Gurka, Claudia Hibbert, Karley Wright and Nicole Hubbard. Courtesy of Tampa General Hospital
    The paper-thin material is waterproof and holds heat, “like an envelope that you can slide into.”
  7. Tampa City Hall. TIM NICKENS  |  Times
    City attorneys intend to appeal a U.S. district judge’s ruling last month overturning Tampa’s ban of a treatment that has been deemed harmful and ineffective.
  8. Messiah Davis, 19 months old, choked on hamburger meat while at a South Tampa child care center and lost oxygen to his brain. He died four days later. His mother has filed a wrongful death suit. Facebook
    Felicia Davis has filed a wrongful death suit, saying Kiddie Kollege failed to save her child and questioning why he was fed hamburger.
  9. At Surterra’s facility on the outskirts of Tallahassee, Cultivation Manager Wes Conner displays the fully grown flower of one of the company’s marijuana plants in 2016. (Associated Press | 2016)
    The state business has 277,000 patients and counting.
  10. Ms. Betty Brown, 72, arrives home from Walmart with her groceries. Brown drives over two miles to get to the Walmart, the only shopping center available since two supermarkets closed in midtown, a predominately African American neighborhood. Ms. Brown says she is fortunate to have a car. Many other people she knows in the neighborhood who are elderly or disabled, rely on public transportation, making it hard to grocery shop. MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE  |  Times
    A grocery co-op conceived in 2017 is off to a slow start as it strives to build membership.