June 1, 2010, will be insane with all the changes to Medicare supplements. Many of them will be confusing for consumers.
Some of the changes will include the old Medicare supplement plans A through G being phased out and new plans A through G being phased in; however, it is a bit inaccurate to say the old plans will be phased out because the reality is that the people who are in the old plans A through G will still be in those plans. They will be grandfathered in and remain in their old plans.
People just signing up will get the new plans A through G, which are not “new” Medicare supplement plans. They will be exactly the same as the “old” plans. Confused? If you aren’t now, you likely will be by the time the changes go into effect. So if you start asking questions now, it might make the switch over easier for some people.
Here is the other very confusing aspect of the projected changes to the Medicare supplements in 2010: those currently in plans A through G at the time of the change over, (June 1, 2010) will be in something called “closed risk pools.”
Generally speaking, closed risk pools mean that people in them tend to pay higher prices for their Medicare supplement insurance. Most Americans would take a dim view of the rates going up even more than they have to this point in time. In any event, what is likely to happen when the clock strikes midnight on May 31, 2010, is that come June 1,2010, the insurance rates will be reset. That is good news, for people getting into the “new” versions of the plans because this means there will be some stiff competition among insurance companies for Medicare supplement business.
More competition of course tends to mean lower rates, and those lower rates may just stay in effect for longer than we may expect. Honestly, it’s hard to predict what the Medicare supplement insurance market will do in terms of costs for premiums, but suffice it to say that in the beginning, the prices will be lower in order to attract customers.
Who knows what else might come into play with the changes in policy being driven by the new White House administration. It might be worth your while to stick around and pay close attention to the coming changes in the Medicare health care system.