Medicare.org Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) What is Medicare.org? Medicare.org is a Web-based application that searches Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement (Medigap), and Prescription Drug (Part D) plans to help Medicare beneficiaries find the plan that best meets their needs. HealthCompare guides Medicare beneficiaries, or their representatives, through a series of simple questions that are designed to find the coverage options that best match their personal needs and preferences. HealthCompare then searches through hundreds of plans. Within just a few minutes, HealthCompare will guide you to Medicare plans available in your area that best meet your needs and circumstances. You can even use HealthCompare to complete your enrollment in certain plans via a telephone call with a HealthCompare licensed agent. HealthCompare can also facilitate some online enrollment via a redirect to some health plans’ websites for a completely online experience. Who will benefit from using Medicare.org? Medicare.org guides Medicare beneficiaries, those approaching Medicare eligibility, their caregivers or representatives, to the coverage that best meets their specific needs and preferences. Medicare.org will benefit: Any Medicare beneficiary including: Beneficiaries age 65 or older. Beneficiaries who are under 65 and have Medicare due to a disability. Individuals who are soon to be eligible for Medicare or those reviewing their coverage options for the first time. Caregivers or representatives of Medicare beneficiaries seeking information regarding Medicare coverage options. Who conceived the idea for Medicare.org? Medicare.HealthCompares’ founders, with over 65 years of combined experience, are a diverse group of experts in health care for Medicare beneficiaries, e-commerce, and website usability design. They understand that the process of choosing a Medicare plan can be confusing. They also recognize the growing importance of the Internet in helping Medicare beneficiaries research their options. These experts created a proprietary online technology to simplify the process for Medicare beneficiaries and their caregivers. This online tool was named Medicare.HealthCompare . These experts share the belief that Medicare beneficiaries should have a consumer-friendly online tool to help them access health care coverage information customized to meet their needs, ultimately empowering them to make the decision that is right for them. How does Medicare.org work? Medicare.org utilizes the data compiled and updated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) through “public use files” and the benefit data provided by health plans and health insurance companies who contract with Medicare.org. As Medicare health plans and insurance companies update their plan and benefit information, Medicare.org acquires the information, and updates all information on the Medicare.org site. The information available through Medicare.org is reflective of Medicare options widely available in most states and counties where Medicare plans are offered. Today, Medicare.org is contracted with the health plans that represent 60 – 80 percent of Medicare consumers in private insurance in major markets. In order to give Medicare beneficiaries information regarding all of their coverage options, Joppel site visitors can choose to see those plans specifically contracted with Medicare.org, or to see all plans available in their area. Medicare.org has consolidated Medicare information from over 25 existing databases in a unique and concise way. The Medicare.org tool processes the responses provided by the Medicare beneficiary during the Needs Assessment to narrow the search based on their personal needs. In an effort to give Medicare beneficiaries all available information regarding coverage options, they can choose to see those plans specifically contracted with Medicare.org, or to see all plans available in their area. The Medicare.org tool does not value one plan over another, nor does it consider carrier affiliations or payments. Is an Internet tool the right approach to reach Medicare beneficiaries? Yes, Medicare.org feels it is. For example, according to the 2009 CMS Financial Report, there are approximately 46 million Americans eligible for Medicare. While approximately 20% of these beneficiaries receive Medicare due to disabilities, approximately 80% of Medicare beneficiaries are seniors. According to The Nielsen Company, as of December, 2009, there were approximately 17.5 million seniors (65 and older) who are active users of the Internet. The report also notes that one of the most important activities to seniors online includes managing their personal health care information. With 70% of those 50-64 years of age already online, those aging into Medicare will only become more comfortable using online tools to make important health care decisions. This site was modeled with the needs of the Medicare beneficiary in mind. Medicare.org’s creators spent 18 months researching Medicare-related web sites, talking with Medicare consumers and sharing Medicare.org’s design with them. The features you see on Medicare.org were features consumers expressed their preference for, citing them as helpful in understanding Medicare better and navigating their choices. Even Medicare.org’ colors and font sizes, for example, are the result of incorporating science, technology, and direct input from Medicare consumer focus groups. What kind of information is collected during the Medicare.org Needs Assessment? Consumers enter information relevant to their search for health care coverage, such as age, gender, and geographic location, and can provide more detailed information, such as existing plan use, prescriptions, network preferences and cost preferences. Please Note: Medicare beneficiaries are not required to disclose any health or personal information on a call for general or sales information. If you choose not to share any of the information, a licensed agent will still be more than happy to assist you as much as possible given the limited information available. Any information provided will in no way affect the determination of your eligibility for enrollment in the option you select. Does Medicare.org ask everyone the same questions during the Needs Assessment? No. Even though the questions within the Needs Assessment are constant, the tool is adjusted according to your personal responses to previous questions. Can I speak to a representative if I need assistance? Yes. Medicare.org licensed agents are available for assistance and guidance, and are happy to answer questions, conduct a Needs Assessment, and even help you with a telephonic enrollment for certain contracted plans. Agents can be reached Monday through Friday, 6:00 a.m. through 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time, at 1-888-956-7735 or 711 for TTY users, with extended hours October 15 through December 7th.