CMS to remodel website for easier access for seniors

July 6, 2012 in Medical Technology

WASHINGTON – The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will test design changes to make its online quality and other information about Medicare health and prescription drug plans more effective and user-friendly to seniors.

The agency has found it challenging to engage beneficiaries to use the quality data according to a notice in the July 5 Federal Register.

CMS collects and shares data through its online Medicare Plan Finder to help beneficiaries find the one that best fits their situation. Various organizations have helped CMS develop valid and reliable quality measures.

[See also: eHealth acquisition to help seniors choose Medicare plan.]

The tool contains potentially useful information, including extensive data on the fixed and variable costs estimates related to being enrolled in specific plans, the benefits and coverage that they offer, quality of service and member experience data. The information can be personalized to the Medicare user.

But if the process is too complex to navigate, seniors won’t take advantage of the information when they choose their plans.

The agency has found that it takes several steps for a user to access comparative plan information, and once there “the amount of information presented is voluminous, and can seem overwhelming,” the notice said.

[See also: Seniors support e-prescribing in Medicare.]

CMS will evaluate two design changes to the plan finder website to highlight “quick links” and “enhanced data display,” which the agency hopes will reduce the barriers to senior engaging with and using the quality information, according to the notice.

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