SeniorJournal.com - Daily News for Senior Citizens

  FRONT PAGE Aging • Health • Alzheimer's - Mental • Nutrition • Medicare & Medicaid Politics  • Fitness  • Social Security • Alerts • Sex Health • Features • Retirement  Elder Care  >Search  >Senior Links

[NavBar.htm]

Senior Journal: Today's News and Information for Senior Citizens & Baby Boomers

More Senior Citizen News and Information Than Any Other Source - SeniorJournal.com

• Go to more on Medicare or More Senior News on the Front Page

   

E-mail this page to a friend!

 

Medicare News

State Insurance Chiefs Tell Congress Don’t Make Seniors Pay More for Medicare Medigap Policies

 ‘…will also cause serious confusion for seniors with fixed incomes who rely on Medigap insurance to protect them...’

By Susan Jaffee, Kaiser Health News

Sept. 16, 2011 - State insurance commissioners are preparing some stern words of advice for members of Congress trying to reduce the federal deficit: don’t touch Medicare supplemental insurance.

Next week, the bipartisan National Association of Insurance Commissioners is expected to send a letter to Congress opposing changes that would require beneficiaries to pay a higher share of the cost of their supplemental Medigap insurance. Seven million Medicare beneficiaries already pay monthly premiums for these policies that cover a portion of medical expenses Medicare doesn't.

 

Related Archive Stories

 
 

Medicare Advantage Premiums Dropping 4%, Enrollment Up Despite Dire GOP Predictions

Republicans, insurance companies predicted high prices, less benefits after Obama health law

By Phil Galewitz, KHN Staff Writer

Sept. 16, 2011

Medigap Changes Meet Resistance from States, Insurers, Consumer Advocates

Some seniors may forego medically necessary care because they can't afford it -- even though they have a Medigap policy

By Susan Jaffe

Aug. 30, 2011

2012 Medicare Advantage Premiums Drop, Enrollment Projected to Rise

‘Seniors will enjoy more free benefits and cheaper prescription drugs;’ open enrollment earlier – Oct. 15 – Dec. 7

Sept. 15, 2011

2012 Medicare Handbook, Drug Plan Changes Due to You by Late September

CMS says new open enrollment period, October 15-December 7, marks important change - Sept. 15, 2011

Medicare Enrollment for Drug Plans, Medicare Advantage Earlier This Year

Medicare Enrollment Opens Oct. 15 - Ends Dec. 7, 2011

Open enrollment begins October 15 rather than November 15 - Sept. 12, 2011

New Health Care Law Creating Big Savings for Senior Citizens: CMS Data

Through July about 1.3 million with Medicare save on donut hole drug discounts; 18.9 million get free preventive care - links to info to help you save

Sept. 8, 2011

Medicare’s ABCs: Many Senior Citizens in Program for Years May Not Know Ins and Outs

Understanding the parts of Medicare matters, especially when it comes to premiums and enrollment; below are the basics

Aug. 31, 2011


 
 

Read the latest news
> Medicare

> Medicaid
> Senior Politics
>
Today's Headlines

 

The letter will warn Congress that such proposals – geared to saving the federal government money – could cause various problems for beneficiaries and insurers and may even be illegal, said Mary Beth Senkewicz, Florida’s deputy insurance commissioner, who heads the association’s senior issues task force and is shepherding the letter through the approval process.

She provided several points from the letter, which was approved unanimously by the senior issues group on Thursday but cannot be released to the public until final approval next week.

Increasing cost-sharing for current Medigap policyholders would be a benefit change that violates state and federal laws requiring guaranteed, renewable benefits, said Senkewicz.

It will also cause "serious confusion" for seniors with fixed incomes who rely on Medigap insurance to protect them from unanticipated medical costs. In the past, Medigap changes have applied only to new policies, she said.

Shifting some costs to Medigap beneficiaries has emerged as one of several proposals to reduce the federal deficit by cutting Medicare spending. In addition, the 2010 health overhaul calls for some cost shifting in the two most popular and generous Medigap plans but leaves the details to be ironed out by the NAIC and federal health officials.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that shifting some costs to beneficiaries could save the government as much as $53 billion in Medicare spending over a decade, according to a report published last March. If beneficiaries have to reach into their own pockets to pay for medical care, CBO predicts they will use less services and Medicare will have fewer claims to pay.

Medigap plans have been targeted because some studies have shown that beneficiaries with the plans tend to use more Medicare services. Consumer advocates counter that those seniors may be sicker than the average Medicare patient, which is why they purchased the extra coverage.

If Medigap cost-sharing rises, insurers will have "a monumental massive change in payment systems," said Senkewicz, requiring them to recalculate monthly premiums and their future costs based on whether beneficiaries will qualify for full coverage or avoid filing claims.

Under one proposal analyzed by CBO, seniors would pay $550 before Medigap coverage kicks in, and then half of the next $4,950 costs not covered by Medicare – for a total of $3,025 – before the Medigap policy would cover all remaining medical bills during a single year.

Insurance regulators are also worried about what happens when a patient in the middle of a treatment regime is hit with new co-payments or other cost-sharing fees.

"If I have to start paying for something that had been paid for by the insurance company, if I can't afford it, I may have to stop treatment," said Senkewicz.

NAIC's Medigap working group also has questioned the cost-sharing proposals, said its chairman Guenther Ruch, an administrator at Wisconsin’s insurance department. The group, comprised of consumer and insurance representatives as well as state regulators, is preparing a background paper with more details about the issue.

Ruch and Senkewicz expressed little doubt that the letter to Congress will be approved next week.

"This is one of those rare instances where everyone seems to be in agreement,” said Senkewicz.

>> Click to original report and updates

Contact Susan Jaffe at jaffe.khn@gmail.com

 

Some of this information is reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives and sign up for email delivery. © Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

 

Financial Relief for Volkswagen Diesel Owners

You may be eligible for money damages if you owned or leased one of these VW, Porsche or Audi vehicles.

In the major scandal of 2015, Volkswagen cheated you and the world. They rigged diesel emission controls so you, nor regulators, would know how much pollution their cars were adding to our environment.

They were caught and have reserved $7.3 billion to help "make it right" with victims.

If you owned or leased one of these vehicles, contact us now.

 Beth Janicek, Board Certified Personal Injury Attorney Janicek Law attorneys are actively pursuing these cases against VW. Do Not Wait...

Janicek Law Firm, PC

Free Consultation

(Call toll free)

1-877-795-3425 or Email

Vehicles Involved

VW Jetta (2009–2015)

VW Jetta SportWagen (2009–2014)

VW Golf (2010-2015)

VW Golf SportWagen (2015)

VW Beetle (2012–2015)

VW Passat (2012-2015)

Audi A3 (2010-2015)

VW Touareg (2009–2016)

Porsche Cayenne (2015)

Audi A6, A7, A8, Q5 Quattro (2016)

 

Search for more about this topic on SeniorJournal.com

Google Web SeniorJournal.com

Keep up with the latest news for senior citizens, baby boomers

Click to More Senior News on the Front Page

Copyright: SeniorJournal.com

    

 

Published by New Tech Media - www.NewTechMedia.com

Other New Tech Media sites include CaroleSutherland.com, BethJanicek.com, SASeniors.com, DrugDanger.com, etc.