Archive for Wednesday, May 19, 2010

5 questions: Medicare changes

May 19, 2010

Sandy Preager, commissioner of insurance, answers questions on Medicare Supplement plans.

Q: What do seniors need to know about Medicare Supplement plans?

A: Kansans who have Medicare Supplement plans will see additional plans offered and some current plans sales eliminated on June 1. Two new Medicare Supplement plans (also called Medigap plans) will be available then, and the sale of four current plans will be stopped.

Q: What kind of changes?

A: Currently, there are 12 different types of Medicare supplement plans, labeled Plan A through Plan L. The changes will provide lower out-of-pocket expenses to consumers and give some additional benefits in the ongoing plans.

Q: What is the Kansas Insurance Department’s role in regulating Medicare and Medicare supplemental plans?

A: Medicare supplement plans are plans sold by private insurance companies to cover healthcare costs that are not benefits of Medicare in original Medicare plans. The Kansas Insurance Department does not regulate Medicare, a federal program, but it does have the power to regulate supplemental plans.

Q: What state regulations does the state enforce?

A: Medigap plans available in Kansas must abide by all federal and state laws that are designed to protect consumers. However, because these plans are sold through private insurers, prices for the same plan may vary from company to company.

Q: Where can I get more information about Medicare supplemental plans/

A: Information about the supplement plans is available on the Kansas Insurance Department’s website, ksinsurance.org, under the Quick Link “Medicare/Seniors.” Additionally, the department’s booklet “Medicare Supplement Insurance Shopper’s Guide” is scheduled for publication in the near future. Booklets can be ordered or downloaded from the website. The guide complements “Choosing a Medigap Policy: A Guide to Health Insurance for People with Medicare,” which was created by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

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