As the nation’s population ages and more and more of your clients near Medicare age, Medicare supplement is a product you should stay on top of.
Recent legislative events mean changes are on the horizon and more are likely in the near future. We are at a critical point with the Medicare system right now and modernization of Medicare supplement products, which are also known as “Medigap” products, is essential in order to keep pace with the future of Medicare. Throughout the industry, most feel that changes are overdue.
Last year, a congressional conference report accompanying the Medicare Modernization Act encouraged the National Association of Insurance Commissioners to modernize the Medicare supplement insurance market. As a result, the NAIC, Kansas City, Mo., developed a task force and subcommittee to develop recommendations to restructure the Medigap insurance market. Those recommendations were released in December 2006.
In March, the NAIC approved the following recommendations, which still must receive approval in Congress:
* Introduce two new plan options with higher cost-sharing responsibilities and lower premiums.
* Remove the at-home-recovery benefit from plans D, G, I and J.
* Create a new hospice benefit, which will be added as a basic benefit to all plans.
* Eliminate the preventive care benefit offered in plans E and J.
The benefit has been underutilized due to changes in the Medicare program to include more preventive care.