States Increasingly Concerned of Possible Changes to Medigap Policy

September 19, 2011
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Say it isn’t so. Healthcare activists and state insurance commissioners are unlikely bedfellows in the fight to keep Medigap coverage plans static, avoiding the wide swath of projected cuts under the banner of entitlement reform in this term of Congress. House Speaker Boehner has made no secret of his plans for so-called entitlement reform, and Medicare programs are vulnerable, it is assumed.

Say it isn’t so. Healthcare activists and state insurance commissioners are unlikely bedfellows in the fight to keep Medigap coverage plans static, avoiding the wide swath of projected cuts under the banner of entitlement reform in this term of Congress. House Speaker Boehner has made no secret of his plans for so-called entitlement reform, and Medicare programs are vulnerable, it is assumed.

Medigap plans are insurance supplementals which beneficiaries receive in paying for services not covered under traditional Medicare. The average Medigap beneficiary is more ill and older, and it is perceived by many lawmakers in favor of reform that massive savings within Medicare could be realized over the near term with cost shifting of the most popular (and usually more expensive) gap renewable policies.

Some state commissioners are crying foul and that implementation of such a move in the name of reform may be illegal — as beneficiaries are entitled to renewable Medigap benefits under fed law. Since 2003, when George W. Bush signed the MMA into law, much focus has been on Medicare Advantage plans and structure. In this Wild West scenario of budgetary slashing in Congress, the “sanctity” of Medigap legislation is at risk; some states have created working groups to inform beneficiaries and the general voting public of the issues. | LINK

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