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Medicare officials actively try to dissuade users of poorly performing plans to switch

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Some people will keep making bad decisions no matter what is put in place to keep them from doing it.  That’s what Medicare officials are finding when it comes to individuals selecting Medicare Advantage plans according to an article by Kaiser Health News journalist, Susan Jaffe.  It’s open enrollment time again and Medicare officials are pulling out all the stops to encourage the half million beneficiaries that continue to choose one of 26 private poorly performing drug and medical plans to look elsewhere. 

They’ve sent out letters to seniors telling about 375,000 Medicare Advantage plan members and 150,000 drug plan members, “We encourage you to compare this plan to other options in your area and decide if it is still the right choice for you.”

In addition to the letters, Medicare employees are making it harder to select one of the poorly performing plans.  While it’s possible to sign up online for other plans, seniors selecting one of those 26 plans must do so in person at the insurance company.  Even after the Dec. 7 deadline for choosing a plan, the government will continue to prod beneficiaries and unlike the other plans, those seniors will have yet another chance to change their mind.  Even the most stubborn holdout may have no choice in the long run.  Plans rating less than three stars over three years can expect greater scrutiny from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Service (CMS) which may prohibit them from enrolling new members.

Two of the 26 poorly performing plans operate in Washington.  To see the complete list, go to Kaiser Health News.  To read the article, go here or visit here for more articles on Medicare plans. For tools and more information about the plans visit the CMS site here or call 1-800-Medicare.  For free assistance with choosing a plan, contact SHIBA (Statewide Health Insurance Benefits Advisor) by going to their website or by calling 800-562-6900, TDD: 360-586-0241.

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