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Why can't I enroll online on the plan of my choice?

My brother has been in a Medicare Advantage plan for three years and he loves it.  I am turning 65 in two months and I want to enroll in that plan. He enrolled online through the Plan Finder but I can’t. What’s going on?

Your brother loves the plan but it’s apparent that not many others do. As of January 1, 2013, you cannot enroll online through the Medicare Plan Finder in low-performing plans. (A low-performing plan is one that has an overall quality rating of less than three stars for at least the past three years.) Medicare disabled that function to guide beneficiaries toward selecting higher-performing plans. If you still want to enroll in this plan, you will need to contact the plan directly. But given this plan’s track record, you may want to reconsider your choice.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) was planning to terminate all low-quality Medicare Advantage and prescription drug plans as of December 31, 2014. However, CMS delayed that policy indefinitely. Less than 250,000 beneficiaries are enrolled in these plans and, according to CMS, they are starting to provide a better experience for the members. 

Last updated: 10-01-2014