The NMEP Community Monitoring Survey indicates that two-thirds of beneficiaries are satisfied with the handbook.
Findings from the 2001 NMEP Community Monitoring Survey in the case studies suggest that 14 percent of beneficiaries call a 1-800 number (including toll-free numbers for carders and fiscal intermediaries) to obtain information about Medicare, while 6 percent call the helpline.
For example, 17 percent of beneficiaries surveyed in six targeted communities as part of HCFA's assessment of the NMEP
had never heard of the terms managed care, health maintenance organization, or HMO, although Medicare managed care plans existed in all of th ese communities (Gaumer and Wilwerding 2000).
These early results suggest that the NMEP
has moved toward its goal of providing beneficiaries with access to information.
Yet, the ultimate goal of the NMEP
is to increase informed choice.
seeks to educate people with Medicare and help them make more informed health care decisions (McCormack et al.
Although knowledge about the Medicare program and Medicare HMOs is necessary for informed choice, a major goal of the NMEP
is to increase beneficiaries' awareness about different health plan options.
These findings have several implications for the NMEP
and other efforts to support beneficiaries in making decisions.
uses a variety of communication and information sharing tools to help Medicare beneficiaries gain the knowledge to make informed health care decisions.
Medigap plans, Medicare HMOs, and MSAs) to measure the NMEP
goal of awareness of such options.
As previously mentioned, CMS phased-in the implementation of the NMEP
in order to make adjustments based on lessons learned prior to the national implementation.
To date, the effect of the NMEP
on beneficiary attitudes and behavior, including considering new plan options, has been unknown (US General Accounting Office 2001).