In the early weeks of Fall Open Enrollment, several people with Medicare and counselors at the Medicare Rights Center reported missing data in the Medicare Plan Finder tool. In some areas, certain plan results came back with prices listed for entered prescription drugs as “Not Applicable” or “NA.”
Missing information is always a problem, but in a year where additional assistance may not be as available as usual, these gaps in reported information from plans present particular challenges. At Medicare Rights, we are pleased that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has resolved this specific issue and updated plan results with accurate information about plan costs. We encourage anyone who experienced these challenges to revisit their Plan Finder results to ensure they are in the plan that has the best cost and coverage options for their unique circumstances, and to make a change if needed.
There is still plenty of time to review Medicare enrollment options for next year. People with Medicare have until December 7 to make changes that will take effect on January 1.
Again this year, the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) has found that more than half of Part D enrollees do not compare plans annually. This work builds on previous KFF analysis showing that only a small share of people with Medicare voluntarily switch plans. This “stickiness” may indicate that beneficiaries are satisfied with their current coverage, but it may also indicate that many people on Medicare find it difficult to compare and switch plans, are unaware of the open enrollment period, or are not confident in their ability to select a better plan. The report found that the share of people with Medicare who do not annually review their coverage options is higher among certain groups—people ages 85 and older, those with lower incomes, people with lower education levels, and those who are in fair or poor health.
It is important for these and other people with a Medicare Advantage or Part D plan to evaluate their options. Not doing so leaves one open to higher costs and coverage problems.
Medicare Rights Center will continue to monitor the Medicare Plan Finder tool. If you or a loved one encounter problems with the tool, or need help understanding your options, please contact our national helpline at 800-333-4114.
We also have several online resources to help people navigate Fall Open Enrollment, including a free guide for consumers as well as questions to ask before joining an MA plan and when comparing Part D plans.