Online Plan Finder Offers Unbiased Information for Medicare Beneficiaries

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has launched their popular web-based Medicare Plan Finder, which allows people to look at available local drug and health plan options for the 2012 benefit year. The Plan Finder was the most popular tool on Medicare’s site in 2010.

This year, there is an earlier annual enrollment period for people with Medicare to review Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug plan options and choose the plan that best meets their needs. It started October 15 and runs through  December 7, 2011 this year.

People can use the Plan Finder at by entering their zip code to determine which Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug plans are available. Also available online is Medicare’s Formulary Finder, which allows beneficiaries to enter their prescribed medication and zip code for a display of locally offered plans covering their drugs.

Also beginning this year, the Plan Finder will display a gold star designating top rated five-star plans. Users will continue to see warnings for plans that are consistently poor performers.

Jonathan Blum, CMS Deputy Administrator and Director of the Center for Medicare, said “We encourage all Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in private plans to know their plan’s overall star rating and to consider enrolling in plans with high ratings.” When comparing plans, beneficiaries should review the plan’s quality in addition to costs, coverage, and other benefits.