The Medigap Switch in 2010

Keeping track of incoming Medigap changes is a bit like playing a game of 52 Pickup: confusing and all over the place.

There are not a lot of people who truly grasp what is coming in 2010 when it comes to the changes slated to kick-in with Medigap. The confusion centers on many thinking the changes that are coming have already gone into effect. This isn’t the case, and the changes “to” come have no effect on “current” Medicare supplement coverage, but they may ultimately have an effect on whether or not a person is able to get affordable health insurance.

The scoop is that effective June 1, 2010, the federal government is changing all “existing” Medicare supplement plans. The changes won’t take effect for any policies bought prior to June 1, 2010; they will only affect policies purchased after June 1, 2010. The changes are intended to streamline plan offerings and make them more customer friendly. There are some new plan options as well. In terms of getting health insurance quotes, this may confuse many people if there are too many choices.

It’s usually a given than when something like Medicare supplement plans change, there is major confusion for those who need to buy them. One of the things not a lot of people realize is that the Medigap plan they already have is guaranteed renewable for life, provided the premiums are kept up. This means that even if a policyholder’s health changes, they can’t be kicked out of the plan and they can’t be forced to change to a new plan either. That means they will still have reasonable affordable health insurance.

Consumers need to be aware that if they decide to go with a new plan in 2010, they will be losing some of the benefits of a current plan and that they won’t be allowed to revert to the original coverage. This has an upside in that it’s possible the new plan may be more suitable. This is one of the major reasons anyone considering changing plans needs to speak to a knowledgeable insurance agent to compare the benefits of the current plans versus the new ones. In other words get multiple health insurance quotes to compare health insurance plans.

Making any hasty decisions based on a news article or the word of a friend is not advisable. The smart move is to talk to a local insurance agent and discuss coverage now versus coverage in 2010. Knowing what to expect is more than half the battle when it comes to deciding on the best health insurance plans.

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