Two pieces of news provide a flicker of hope amid the doom and gloom.
WASHINGTON, June 15 -- America's Health Insurance Plans issued the following news release:
Nine out of ten seniors enrolled in Medigap are satisfied with their coverage, according to a new American Viewpoint survey released by America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP). According to the survey, seventy-nine percent of beneficiaries say their policy provides excellent or good value for the money, and the vast majority (91 percent) would recommend Medigap to a friend or relative.
AHIP also released a report showing that the number of seniors choosing Medigap coverage continues to increase, reaching 9.8 million enrollees in 2011.
Medicare supplement (Medigap) insurance is private health insurance designed to supplement Medicare. It offers coverage, at varying levels, for the significant out-of-pocket costs that are not covered by Medicare, such as deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments. Medigap coverage allows seniors and younger Medicare enrollees with disabilities - many of whom are on fixed incomes - to budget for medical costs and avoid the confusion and inconvenience of handling complex medical bills.
"Medigap coverage provides seniors with financial security and peace of mind about their health care coverage," said Karen Ignagni, President and CEO of AHIP.
Key findings from the American Viewpoint survey include:
* Nine out of ten Medigap policyholders are satisfied with their coverage. Overall satisfaction with Medigap coverage is also comparable to levels found in 2009 (88 percent) and 2005 (90 percent).
* The vast majority of enrollees (79 percent) say their Medigap policy provides an excellent or good value for the money, consistent with similar findings in 2009 (77 percent) and 2005 (80 percent).
* More than nine out of ten (91 percent) would recommend Medigap coverage to a friend or relative when they turn 65 and enroll in Medicare. This is higher than scores reported in either 2009 (87 percent) or 2005 (84 percent).
* When asked what they like most about their Medigap coverage, enrollees highlighted a variety of benefits, including limits on out-of-pocket costs, ease of dealing with medical bills and paperwork, and the ability to budget for unexpected medical costs.
* Beneficiaries also said they valued the fact that Medigap allows them to see the doctor of their choice and that it covers hospital expenses and physician costs not covered by Medicare.
Out-of-pocket costs and the loss of financial security and peace-of-mind top the list of concerns Medigap enrollees would have if Medigap insurance was no longer available to them.
For more information about this survey, view the following:
Presentation Slides (http://www.ahip.org/MedigapEnrolleesPresentation.aspx)
Summary of American Viewpoint Survey (http://www.ahip.org/MedigapSatisfactionSurvey.aspx)
Medigap Continues to be a Popular Coverage Option for Medicare Beneficiaries
AHIP also released a report, Trends in Medigap Coverage and Enrollment, 2011 (http://www.ahip.org/Medigap-2012.aspx), which found that enrollment in Medigap coverage increased by 100,000 individuals, from 9.7 million in December 2010 to 9.8 million in December 2011. The report also highlights which Medigap options are most popular.
Key findings from the report include:
* Most Medicare beneficiaries obtain coverage that provides benefits beyond traditional Medicare (Part A or B), whether through Medigap, Medicaid, employer-based retiree plans, or comprehensive coverage through Medicare Advantage.
* In 2011, most Medicare beneficiaries with Medigap coverage were enrolled in Plan F (51 percent) and fourteen percent were enrolled in Plan C. Both of these plans cover 100 percent of the deductibles and coinsurance not covered by Medicare.
* Many Medicare beneficiaries are choosing to enroll in plans that contain at least some cost-sharing. High-deductible Plan F, and newer standardized Medigap plans K, L, M, and N--which have copayments, coinsurance or deductibles--made up 23 percent of new Medigap purchases in 2011. Plan N, which includes cost sharing of up to $20 for physician office visits and up to $50 for certain emergency room visits, represented 18 percent of newly purchased Medigap policies in 2011 and was the most popular of the newer plans.
The study examined data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) and from an AHIP survey of newly purchased cost-sharing policies issued by Medigap carriers through 2011.
The full report is available here: Trends in Medigap Coverage and Enrollment, 2011 (http://www.ahip.org/Medigap-2012.aspx).
TNS C-paypan56 120616-mv45-3913802