In this white paper, Better Medicare Alliance presents a set of comprehensive recommendations to reimagine Medicare enrollment, thereby empowering beneficiaries to make better sense of their options and become active choosers in their health coverage. The whitepaper offers a five-part plan, including:
- Designate HHS as Solely Responsible for Medicare Enrollment: Congress should designate HHS as solely responsible for the entirety of the Medicare program, encompassing both administration and enrollment.
- Standardize and Modernize Educational Materials for Current and Prospective Beneficiaries: CMS should ensure that all materials provided by the Agency or organizations affiliated with the Medicare program are appropriately branded as official resources. Unaffiliated entities seeking to market themselves as Medicare educators should be required to meet specified requirements and undergo CMS review. Materials that meet the new CMS requirements would be able to include a seal of approval indicating that it meets CMS’ standards of accuracy and completeness.
- Redesign, Simplify, and Tailor the Notice of Medicare Benefits: CMS should continue to revise and update the Medicare & You handbook to ensure that different language, health, and socioeconomic needs are met and that materials are fully accessible and understandable to the increasingly diverse senior population. CMS should also prioritize translating the handbook and the online tool, Medicare Plan Finder, into additional languages to meet the needs of today’s Medicare population.
- Initiate Beneficiary Engagement and Education at Age 64: Congress should extend the timeline for beneficiary engagement and education to begin at age 64. Upon a future beneficiary’s 64th birthday, CMS should issue an official notice regarding upcoming Medicare eligibility that directs them to the appropriate tools and resources to begin the education process. Additionally, materials should be provided to public and private employers to offer standardized and current information to workers upon the employee turning age 64.
- Modernize a Single Comprehensive Tool to Compare all Coverage Options: CMS should build off the work already done on the Medicare Plan Finder tool to modernize this resource into a single comprehensive tool that allows beneficiaries to evaluate Traditional Medicare, Medicare Advantage, and Medigap options in their area to facilitate informed decision making. This tool should incorporate filters to allow beneficiaries to tailor their search based on their unique circumstances such as income or chronic condition, and take into account factors such as out-of-pocket costs, provider network, supplemental benefits, programs for specific conditions or disease states, and quality ratings.