Medicare open enrollment starts on October 15, and a new survey finds that few beneficiaries have taken advantage of Web-based help in selecting a health plan.

A government Web site enabling beneficiaries to search for a Medicare health plan includes an annual "Medicare Star Quality Ratings" system that rates Medicare plans on more than 50 care quality measures.

A recent Harris Interactive survey, commissioned by Kaiser Permanente, found only 18 percent of Medicare-eligible respondents are familiar with the health plan rating system, and only 2 percent know how their current plans rate.

Consequently, Kaiser launched a new Web site with information about the Medicare Start Quality Ratings and frequently asked questions. The site is available at


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