In late August 2019, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) introduced a new Medicare Plan Finder (MPF) that, according to Modern Healthcare, aligns with eMedicare initiatives of delivering a streamlined user experience. The old MPF was developed ten years ago. With this in mind, the goals of the new MPF are to provide additional and critical content, evolve into a friendlier design and increase mobile-friendly access. CMS had solicited feedback from consumers through the end of September 2019, and the new tool went live on October 1.
Throughout the years, we have heard concerns about the old Medicare Plan Finder, so naturally, the roll out of this new tool piqued our curiosity. As an agency with extensive experience building websites in the Medicare space, including plan finder tools and other interactive tools, it is always a good idea to monitor how others are making a complex sell easier. In addition, Medicare.gov is a trusted resource, so taking a deeper dive into this new tool can help us make sure we are using similar terminology and ‘decision tree’ in all of our marketing efforts.
To get more feedback on the overall user experience ourselves, we decided to go directly to an actual user. We were excited to see if improvements made would enhance and simplify the experience. The MPF was reviewed by a 68-year-old female with a moderate level of insurance literacy and strong marketing and user interface experience. She is a recent retiree and Medicare participant currently enrolled in a private Medicare Advantage Plan that includes prescription coverage.
Here are a few of her first impressions:
- Visually, the tool is inviting. There is more white space and less distractions. The monochromatic nature of the tool at first was a disconnect, but as she went deeper into using the tool, the design simplicity was a plus across the experience. Examples include the narrow use of color effectively highlighting important navigation elements, the use of large fonts and no superfluous lifestyle imagery or design elements.
- The functionality of the tool has also greatly improved. Finding important content, customizing the results to her personal requirements and creating a side-by-side comparison were easy.
- Navigation was rated as highly improved as was finding and applying filters, sorting, researching special needs and returning to single plan deep-dive content.
With these first impressions in mind, the user took a deeper dive into the new MPF to complete a few tasks and report on her observations. Click the SlideShare to take a look at the user’s journey from start to finish using the new Medicare Plan Finder (MPF).
You can also download a PDF version of the Medicare Plan Finder (MPF) review.
As the old system shuts down as of October 1 and is replaced with the new MPF for the start of Medicare’s Open Enrollment (AEP) on October 15, there are definitely mixed reviews. Also, additional features are being added right up until AEP starts, based on overall opinions on the pros and cons of the new MPF by advocacy groups.
Overall, the MPF is one of the more popular spots on the CMS website. It will definitely be notable to see what feedback is on the plan finder by Medicare beneficiaries as they enroll in plans during this year’s AEP. It will also be interesting to hear feedback from agents/brokers and also users who navigate the MPF on behalf of a beneficiary (such as a parent or grandparent).
According to Deft Research’s 2019 Medicare Shopping and Switching Study, Medicare.gov is a switching and enrollment channel, with about 7% of all switchers reported to have used the site to switch and enroll in a different plan. While this is small in comparison to human assistance which makes up 71% of all switches, it will be significant to see if this percentage changes following the conclusion of the 2020 Medicare AEP.