For the 2019 Medicare Open Enrollment period, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released three new web tools, available on Medicare.gov, which are designed to help Medicare beneficiaries better understand and compare their Medicare coverage options.
At the same time, CMS released minor updates to the Medicare Plan Finder. We reviewed the three new tools, in part applying the expertise and knowledge we gained from working with beneficiaries for our Modernizing Medicare Plan Finder Report. Two of the tools were responsive to recommendations included in our report.
We found that in general, the new web tools are consumer-friendly and serve as a good starting point for making choices. However, beneficiaries should not rely on them alone for picking a plan. Instead, they should use them as a starting point before using the more detailed and accurate full Medicare Plan Finder or before contacting a local State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP).