Medicare.gov Plan Finder Changes are Coming

Author: Chris Hagerstrom

Source: www.medicare.gov

 

Many agents utilize Medicare.gov’s Plan Finder to run their clients’ drug lists each year in the search for the “best” coverage available.  In doing so, agents have saved thousands of drug list ID’s and passwords so they can go back into the system the following year, retrieve the list and re-check the results.  Starting October 1st, those drug list IDs will no longer exist, and there isn’t a way for independent agents to save their clients’ lists in the system.  You can print the quote when you’re done, but it wont list the client’s medications. 

We encourage anyone who has utilized the system to either go back in there now and retrieve their clients’ lists of drugs, or start the process of reaching out to their current book of business to obtain new lists and keep them saved in a secure place. It’s important to know that this data is protected by HIPAA and you must store it in accordance with those regulations.

Please note that JSA offers a free alternative to quoting and saving drug lists through our MyHealthPlan system, find out more on that here. 

Beneficiaries are encouraged to create an account on MyMedicare.gov so they can store their list of medications, check current eligibility and coverage status, and to view personalized documents and benefit information.  This is all part of CMS’s eMedicare initiative, which aims to give Medicare beneficiaries a simpler, more intuitive customer experience.  Alert – CMS encourages agents to help beneficiaries create their profile on MyMedicare.gov, but agents are not allowed to save their client’s usernames and passwords.

The phrase “We’re #1 on Medicare.gov Plan Finder” will no longer serve as bragging rights for the Part D and MAPD carriers like it once did. Agents are still able to run list of medications for their clients and view all available plans, but the way the plans are sorted is very, um, odd.  For example, we ran the following quote through the new system:

  • 33912 zip code – Lee county, FL
  • September 1954 birthdate – now a required field
  • Atorvastatin 20mg
  • Warfarin 5mg
  • Medicare Advantage plans

The initial sorting is “lowest monthly premium”, and scrolling through the first page of results we saw some plans had $0 estimated yearly drug costs all the way up to $120.  When we changed the sorting to “lowest drug cost”, the first plan that pops up is a $55/month PPO plan with $0 estimated yearly drug costs.  Knowing the market, there are about 10 or so MAPD plans with $0 drug costs that are $0 monthly premium, and some with the same or better Star rating.  Furthermore, on the Part D side it lists a $155.90/month plan over a $13.40/month plan with the exact same estimated annual drug costs.

Bottom line, Medicare.gov’s Plan Finder is no longer taking sides.  In place of where it would list plans from total annual cost on up (essentially picking the “best” plan for your clients) you now have to pick and choose how you want the plans sorted and dig more into the other aspects.  As an agent, it will be up to you to know the players in your market so you can guide your client to the best coverage for their wants and needs.  If you absolutely need a tool that will quote PDP and MAPD plans, and sort them by total annual costs, reach out to the JSA Marketing Team to learn more about our MyHealthPlan system, or sign up for the next training webinar.

Chris Hagerstrom

Chris Hagerstrom is the National Marketing Communications Analyst at Jack Schroeder and Associates, Inc. Through years of experience he has become an expert with Medicare, Life Insurance, Annuities and Supplemental Health and how to successfully navigate the senior market.

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