The Partnership to Protect Medigap – Help Preserve Medigap Plans

Medigap plans protect you against financial catastrophe – why not take some small actions to help protect Medigap plans, with the goal being to preserve Medigap plans’ existence in current form for yourselves and future Medicare-eligible individuals. There has been discussion off and on over the last 2-3 years about reforming Medigap plans. These discussions have ranged from eliminating first-dollar coverage (i.e. Plan F) to overhauling the plans completely to creating a Medicare deductible that cannot be insured against. While none of these plans became a part of PPACA (“Obamacare”) and none have been enacted, it is still important to be apprised of the fact that they have been discussed and likely will be discussed again soon.

Visit the PPM (Partnership to Protect Medigap) web site.

Visit the PPM (Partnership to Protect Medigap) web site.

First of all, to reiterate, nothing HAS changed with Medigap plans and the way they work as a result of PPACA

(“Obamacare”). On the contrary, Medicare Advantage plans were affected considerably, with reductions in funding and new regulations/restrictions. For Medigap plans, there were discussions that included changes to these plans, specifically the Kerry-Stark bill which would have forced Medigap plans to abide by the Medical Loss Ratios that the PPACA included for “under 65” plans. This would have made it difficult for most Medigap companies to compete and, most analysts agree, would have had a detrimental effect on Medigap rates. This and other ideas got pushed to the “backburner” during the PPACA talks and health care reform went forward without including them.

Now, however, is not the time for people who care about having the ability to purchase Medigap plans to fall silent and relax. The Partnership to Protect Medigap is one organization that is non-partisan and works to protect the Medigap plans that so many rely on. You can find out more here: Partnership to Protect Medigap. On their site, you can find out more about protecting Medigap plans and their viability into the future, as well as get information on contacting your Congressional representative and other ways to be involved in these efforts.

Medigap plans provide many benefits for those on Medicare, supplementing Medicare’s sometimes-insufficient coverage and “capping” (or eliminating, in the cases of Plan F) the total out-of-pocket expenses someone would have, regardless of the amount of care needed. Additionally, they provide the security of automated billing (i.e. no paperwork) and flexibility (can go to any doctor that takes Medicare). An independent American Viewpoint independent study found that over 90% of seniors were satisfied with their Medigap coverage. This is one of, if not the, highest among various insurance niches. For these reasons and more, those who have vested interest in Medigap should make the minimal efforts required to protect the future viability of these plans.

If you have questions about this or want to discuss in more detail, contact me online or call 877.506.3378.

How Are Medigap Plans Affected by Obamacare?

healthcare.gov websiteThis is one of the most frequently asked questions that we receive from clients and people that we talk to on a daily basis about Medicare and Medigap insurance. So, how are Medigap plans affected by “Obamacare”?

The answer is a short and easy one – simply, they are not directly affected, or impacted, by the PPACA, or “Obamacare”, legislation, due to the fact that the plans are supplemental in nature and not “full-blown” medical plans. As such, Medigap plans are not subject to the requirements and restrictions on individual plans for people under age 65.

For people that have a Medigap plan, Medicare is, of course, still the primary coverage. Medicare covers, in general, 80% of the total, overall medical costs after doctor’s office (Part B) and hospital (Part A) deductibles. The Medigap plans step in to pay the Medicare deductibles (in most cases, depending on which Medigap plan you have) and the 20% after Medicare pays. The way this works – and the type of coverage that Medigap plans provide – has not been changed or impacted by the passage of the “Obamacare” legislation.

On the contrary, Medigap plans have historically been one of the more stable types of insurance since they became standardized in 1992. The actual plan designs have changed a couple of times since then, the last change occurring June 1, 2010; however, the way that the plan works and the overall outline of what they do has not changed.

Additionally, because of the standardization of plans (i.e. one company offers the same coverage plans as another, although rates may differ), the plans are relatively easy to understand, not nearly as complex as “under-65” individual insurance plans, and can be easily compared to one another.

Overall, many analysts project that “Obamacare” will cause some strain on the financial health of insurance companies that have elected to continue to offer individual plans. This may cause some trickle-down to the portions of those companies that do Medigap insurance. However, this is uncertain at best, and for now, Medigap plans look like a safe bet to remain the same post-“Obamacare” as they were before the law was enacted.

If you have any questions about this or would like to compare Medigap plans for your area, please call us at 877.506.3378 or visit our website at http://medicare-supplement.us.