As many seniors know, www.medicare.gov is the one place they can go to check on the new 2020 plans to see if they need to make a change during the AEP (Annual Election Period from October 15th until December 7th). It was also a place where brokers could go to check on their client’s drugs to see which MAPD plan (18 choices and 26 standalone drug plans). All a broker had to do was put in a zip code and enter the medications and other required information and proceed to review those plans. It was a very accurate system and always the information was correct. This broker used that system almost daily to help my clients find the best plan for them.
Then CMS decided to change the system and do so just prior to the AEP. Here’s what they changed:
- Now, you must enter your personal information like social security, date of birth, home address and other items to identify you to their system.
- Once you’ve done that the system populated your medications based on getting drug files from all the insurance carriers.
- While Medicare itself doesn’t pay for any of these drugs they have access to what medications you are taking.
- When you sign up for a standalone drug plan or an MAPD plan with drug coverage you give the carrier the right to send that information to CMS.
- Now CMS is displaying that information in your file online.
So now, you must sign in to Medicare.gov and access your medications under your name and personal information. Then the system takes you to the files showing you the best plans for you. Except, the system is not accurate. I and other brokers have found significant errors in the system which CMS claims is being fixed but isn’t. The new system is inaccurate and confusing to both seniors and brokers. Here’s an example of how bad things are. When you complete inputting the information, the system shows you the plans available in a very complicated and confusing manner. Where you could print off 1 page in the old system showing the drug tier your medication is in it now prints 8 pages. I’ve also found the system to be incorrect and had to go to the insurance companies’ website to input the drugs to see what the costs were and what drug tier they are in. So, in order to check a client’s drugs, I have to access 26 different insurance company websites to verify that I’m advising my client correctly. Please remember we only have 58 days to complete these tasks. I have already told 10 clients I need more time to review their medications to assure them of the accuracy of my findings.
The real question is why CMS decided to make this change during the busiest time of the year for brokers and clients? I cannot imagine an answer to that question when they could have left it alone until after the AEP.
It seems to me; I’m from the government and here to help. NOT.
The Barend Agency Inc.