Too many Medicare beneficiaries still do not understand or have access to tools and unbiased assistance for comparing and choosing among available plan options, and do not shop around when they should. Only about 1.5 million of the 56 million beneficiaries (less than 3 percent) use Medicare Plan Finder to select a plan. In addition, insurance coverage that meets their needs may not be affordable, and many lower income beneficiaries do not have access to or do not take advantage of assistance with out-of-pocket costs. As we move away from fee-for-service toward alternative payment models and 75 million more people enter Medicare over the next 20 years, our vision is that millions of informed, engaged Medicare beneficiaries will make optimal decisions about public and private insurance, providers, and treatments.
In response to these concerns, NCOA has launched an Improving Medicare Markets Initiative (IMMI), with an expert Advisory Group that has been meeting and collaborating since May 2014. The diverse groups and individuals who serve on the Advisory Group have built trust, agreed on problems and activities to improve the Medicare Part D marketplace, and are taking important steps to make a difference.