Online Tool Allows People To Compare Medicare Prescription Drug Plans

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Medicare Prescription Drug Plans

The open enrollment period for the Medicare prescription drug benefit begins on Thursday, and CMS has established a new online tool to help with the comparison of plans, the Wall Street Journal reports.

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The tool, which appears on the Medicare.govWeb site, allows users to enter the list of medications that Medicarebeneficiaries currently take to determine the amount that eachprescription drug plan charges for premiums, copayments anddeductibles. In addition, the tool allows users to compare Medicareprescription drug plans based on customer service and other areas. Thetool also allows users to compare Medicare Advantage plans based onoverall quality, disease management, access to physicians and otherareas.

The tool is part of Medicare Path Finder, which alsoappears on the Web site and allows users to compare prescription drugplans based on out-of-pocket costs and pharmacy networks. The Web sitealso includes a tool that addresses the so-called "doughnut hole"coverage gap in the Medicare prescription drug benefit.

Acting CMS Administrator Kerry Weems said of the new tool, "This is really moving into consumer-driven health care."

Tricia Neuman, a Kaiser Family Foundation vice president and director of the Medicare Policy Projectat the foundation, said that the tool in large part will help healthinsurance counselors, family members and others because many Medicarebeneficiaries do not use the Internet or e-mail (Zhang, Wall Street Journal, 11/15).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. Youcan view the entire Kaiser DailyHealth Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email deliveryat kaisernetwork.org/email. The Kaiser Daily HealthPolicy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The HenryJ. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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