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Medicare’s online Plan Finder gets an overhaul

The most-used tool on Medicare.gov will look different this year.
Medicare's online Plan Finder has been redesigned and is available at medicare.gov/find-a-plan. [THOMAS TOBIN  |  Tampa Bay Times]
Medicare's online Plan Finder has been redesigned and is available at medicare.gov/find-a-plan. [THOMAS TOBIN | Tampa Bay Times]
Published Oct. 14, 2019
Updated Oct. 15, 2019

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 medicare.gov/find-a-plan, 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.

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