National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors

NAIFA Urges Changes to New CMS Medicare Enrollment Site

A July Government Accountability Office report concluded that the “Medicare Plan Finder (MPF) website—a primary resource for comparing Medicare coverage options—is difficult for beneficiaries to use and provides incomplete information.” The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which administers the site, is in the process of implementing a new version of the site in response to the GAO report.
 
NAIFA President Jill Judd, in a letter to CMS Administrator Seema Verma, commends CMS for its effort to address the site’s problems, but raises concerns that some of the proposed changes could make it more difficult for insurance professionals and consumers to use the site and could even discourage some consumers from consulting agents when they face complicated Medicare decisions. Judd also raises the concern that changes to the site are coming too quickly during a peak time for Medicare enrollments.
 
NAIFA members are experienced and licensed insurance professionals, many of whom have developed years of expertise helping clients select Medicare plans that are affordable and best suited to their situations. Many clients rely on agents and brokers to “navigate the technical aspects of applying online for Medicare coverage as well understanding the complexities of Medicare plan selection,” Judd wrote.
 
Currently, the MPF website allows an agent to enter a client’s prescriptions list to generate a tracking number the agent can use to create a list of plan options that would cover those medications. CMS reportedly intends to eliminate the tracking number system and require MPF users to enter Medicare identification credentials instead. Because the credentials, unlike the tracking numbers, contain personal information, NAIFA believes this change raises serious online security concerns and could jeopardize their clients’ privacy.
 
Secondly, NAIFA is concerned the new system will require insurance professionals and their clients to enter Medicare enrollees’ prescription information multiple times, potentially creating frustration, making the system less user friendly, and delaying client decisions about Medicare enrollment.
 
Judd urges CMS to further consider potential consequence of the timing of the transition to the new system. October is often a peak month for Medicare enrollments. Bringing the new system online is likely to create a learning curve for users. As mentioned above, if CMS moves forward with the system in its current format the changes could create delays as agents help thousands of clients enter their prescription and Medicare identification information and adjust to a new online format.
 
Finally, NAIFA raised objections to the language on the website of one online vendor of Medicare plans that made offensive and incorrect claims about the ways agents and brokers serve Medicare clients. Since Judd sent her letter, the vendor appears to have removed the false claims from its website.
 
 
  • Posted September 5, 2019 IN


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