Is Medicare.gov Plan Finder Tool Confusing?

Hmmm: New Report Blasts ‘Confusing’ Medicare Search Tool

The issues mentioned as problems are:

  • Out-of-pocket cost information is difficult to understand
  • Provider and pharmacy directories are hard to navigate
  • Plan comparisons do not permit inclusion of Medigap policies, the private plans that consumers can buy to supplement Medicare
  • The layout and display of the website are confusing
  • The language is not accessible
  • Navigation and usability of the site are complex and inconsistent
  • Human support is not available
  • Information on quality Star Ratings of the health plans is confusing
  • Plan information is not customized well
  • Information is not always accurate

I actually thought the tool was pretty good but the above claims are valid. I’ll will say that compared to the plan comparison tools available on Connect for Health Colorado, the Medicare tool is vastly superior.

That said, there are certainly sections that have confused me. For example, with Part D drug plans it took a while for me to understand the “total cost” per month includes the expected medication costs PLUS the monthly premium. I’m sure this could confuse the casual user.

Another example is when look at Medicare Advantage plans that include Part D drug coverage, there appears to be a maximum out of pocket, which is good. However, what is not clear, although it is logical, is that the Part D drug plan operates separately and is not capped by the MA plan maximum out of pocket. Instead it operates under regular Part D rules where even if you enter the catastrophic drug coverage phase, you are paying 5% of the cost of medication.

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