Providing Medicare Beneficiaries with Complete, Objective Information
to Help Them Make the Best Enrollment Decision
Updated for 2019
The Center for Medicare Advocacy and the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare have partnered once again on an education and outreach project to support Medicare beneficiaries and those who assist them enroll and re-enroll in Medicare. The Medicare Fully Informed Project provides a variety of unbiased, accurate and comprehensive information about the full range of Medicare coverage options, and includes an array of tools to assist in making the best individual enrollment choices.
Making Medicare coverage decisions is a complex task with multiple personal factors that must be taken into account. Beneficiaries need help in understanding all their complex options including all the pros and cons of traditional Medicare and private Medicare Advantage. They need to make fully informed choices given their likely health needs, personal and financial circumstances, and possible cost-sharing assistance. Our organizations and other beneficiary advocates have been concerned about the objectivity of some Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) enrollment materials. We hope to help fill some of the gaps.
In preparing for this project, we polled over 2,000 members of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare in August 2018 in order to better understand Medicare beneficiaries, their unique needs, Medicare choices, and how we can better serve them. The responses helped us identify knowledge gaps and develop the suite of materials developed for this project. Key survey results that informed this project include:
- 61% of respondents are in traditional Medicare
- 54% of respondents make enrollment decisions through on-line research
- Half of all respondents said they want more information about their enrollment choices
- 77% receive the annual Medicare & You handbook from CMS
- Less than half of respondents comparison shop between Medicare Advantage and Part D prescription drug plans
- Only 13% changed their Medicare Advantage plan or Part D plans in the last year
- 57% have one or more pre-existing health condition
- 57% are not aware of Medicare’s Extra-Help program
- Male respondents made up about 45%; female respondents comprised 54%
- 54% live in suburban areas while 25% live in rural areas and 20% in urban areas
The results of the poll confirm that Medicare beneficiaries need additional, objective tools and information to make informed decisions about their Medicare options. They are also a diverse group who often face significant barriers when switching between plans or navigating these complex programs.
The goal of the Medicare Fully Informed Project is to help by providing a variety of educational tools for beneficiaries, and those who help beneficiaries, make enrollment decisions. We hope these various formats will help beneficiaries make fully informed Medicare and related health care coverage decisions. Project materials updated for 2019 include the following: