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Latest news and updates about the Medicare and pharmacy industries.

December 13: Senators Request Medicare Enrollment Extension

Posted on in Industry Updates by Amplicare Team

Plus, the latest pharmacy and healthcare news to know this week.

The Story

Leading Senators have asked Medicare to offer a special enrollment period for seniors unhappy with their plan choices due to issues with the agency’s online plan finder. The Open Enrollment period for Medicare plans ended on Saturday, December 7. 

Why It Matters

In late August, Medicare unveiled updates to its plan finder tool for the first time in a decade. However, users quickly noticed issues with the new version, which continued through the Medicare Open Enrollment period. The Senators noted that they had received multiple complaints from constituents about inaccurate pricing and coverage information. 

As the most commonly used tool on Med.gov, the plan finder is used by about 60 million people, so the effects of any errors are far-reaching. In addition to a special enrollment period, the Senators are asking that the period last throughout next year, that CMS widely publicize it, and that beneficiaries looking to switch not be inundated with paperwork hurdles. 

According to AP News, Medicare has hinted that it will provide the chance for a do-over although it is yet to announce specific details. It has mentioned that people who had problems with the plan finder and were unhappy with their choices could call 1-800-MEDICARE to request a change. Beneficiaries would only need to explain the issue to the call center representatives without providing documentation or screen shots. 

In the meantime, patients on Medicare Advantage already have an extended enrollment period during which they can make adjustments to their coverage. The period begins on January 1 and lasts through March 31, 2020. 

Other Healthcare News to Know

  1. Medicare has announced a special enrollment period for beneficiaries affected by Hurricane Dorian. WNCT9.
  2. A coalition of national pharmacy groups showed their support for a new bill that addresses DIR fees. Chain Drug Review.
  3. United Health Group’s OptumRx plans to buy specialty drug provider Diplomat Pharmacy. The New York Times.
  4. Thirty-seven percent of American adults don’t plan to get a flu shot this season. The Hill.
  5. Patients prioritize high-quality interactions with their doctors over access to digital health services, according to a new survey. Healthcare Finance.

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