U.S. News Expands Health Insurance Site -- New Best Medicare Plans Site Names Best Medicare Advantage Plans and Best Medicare Part D Plans --

WASHINGTON, Nov. 5, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- U.S. News & World Report, publisher of Best Hospitals and Best Health Insurance Plans has expanded its Health Insurance site to include the Best Medicare Advantage Plans,  Best Medicare Part D Plans, and Best Medicare Plans. As millions of Americans face confusion enrolling in health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, this new resource is designed to help individuals, families, and Medicare beneficiaries find coverage that meets their specific needs.

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The Health Insurance site presents information on the private and marketplace health insurance plans available in each state in a consumer-friendly, searchable interface. The Best Medicare Plans site and new ratings, which highlight those companies that consistently offer highly rated Medicare coverage, help Medicare beneficiaries navigate the multitude of coverage options now available to them. Medicare's approximately 50 million beneficiaries are currently in their annual open-enrollment period, which runs through December 7, 2013, and gives them the opportunity to change their coverage.

Thirty-one states plus the District of Columbia have at least one insurer that made U.S. News' list of Best Medicare Advantage Plans. A number of companies offer consistently highly rated Medicare Advantage plans in multiple states, including Kaiser Permanente, in 10 states, and Erickson Advantage, in nine states. For Part D plans, which cover prescription drugs, all states have at least one insurer that made the U.S. News list. One company, Stonebridge Life Insurance, offers highly rated plans in 49 states plus the District of Columbia.

In addition to the ratings, the expanded site features resources to help beneficiaries choose a plan and manage their costs, as well as a searchable directory of Medicare Advantage and Part D plans and plan ratings by county.

"Choosing a health plan is confusing whether you are Medicare eligible or not," said Dan Wilmer, vice president and general manager of health care products at U.S. News. "We developed this site to take the confusion out of finding a plan and serve as a one-stop resource for consumers seeking health coverage."

"If you are on Medicare, or a caregiver for someone who is, your needs are different," said Ben Harder, managing editor of U.S. News' health care analysis team. "We evaluated insurance companies and designed the Best Medicare site so that consumers can easily find a plan that fits their specific needs."

U.S. News used plan-ratings data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to identify the Best Medicare Advantage Plans and Best Medicare Part D Plans. CMS rates individual plans on a scale of 1 to 5 stars, factoring in members' satisfaction, customer service and other criteria. The U.S. News methodology analyzes all plans offered by an insurer in a given state.

The Best Medicare Advantage Plans and Best Medicare Part D Plans, along with the new Medicare site, are part of a continuing expansion of U.S. News' health care coverage and product offerings. In September, U.S. News launched its new Health Insurance site with information on the private and marketplace health insurance plans available in each state. Traffic to the site has grown rapidly since the federal government's release this month of its Health Insurance Marketplace website, as millions of consumers seek help online.

About U.S. News & World Report
U.S. News & World Report is a multi-platform publisher of news and analysis, which includes the digital-only "U.S. News Weekly" magazine, www.usnews.com and www.rankingsandreviews.com. Focusing on Health, Personal Finance, Education, Travel, Cars and Public Service/Opinion, U.S. News has earned a reputation as the leading provider of service news and information that improves the quality of life of its readers. U.S. News & World Report's signature franchise includes its News You Can Use® brand of journalism and its annual "Best" series of consumer Web guides and publications that include rankings of colleges, graduate schools, hospitals, mutual funds, health plans and more.

SOURCE U.S. News & World Report



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