Two bills in the Michigan legislature may greatly increase the cost of Blue Cross Blue Shield Medicare Supplemental (Medigap) policies and likely eliminate access to the best quality policy for people with multiple sclerosis. Michigan legislators are working on the bills with great haste. We need MS activists to speak up.
There are many types of Medigap policies. The policy sold by Blue Cross of Michigan that offer the best coverage is known as a Legacy policy. Blue Cross is the only company that will sell a Medigap policy to someone under age 65 without a waiting period for coverage of a pre-existing condition. If the bills in the legislature pass unchanged, Blue Cross will stop selling Legacy policies. Legacy policies offer much better coverage at a lower rate than other Medigap policies or by Medicare Advantage.
The Blue Cross Medigap Legacy policy is the only Medigap coverage sold that is…
- Guarantee issue (people with bad health must be accepted)
- Community-rated (rates are averaged to make them more affordable)
- Subsidized (a state-ordered subsidy cuts premiums by 37%)
- Regulated by the state (premium increases must be state-approved and are subject to challenge by the Attorney General acting on behalf of subscribers)
It is important to note that the new insurance protections in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) do not apply to Medicare Supplemental (Medigap) policies. In 2014 and beyond, federal law regulating Medigap will still allow companies to underwrite (reject bad risks), apply pre-existing condition exclusions, and use age-rating (older people pay more).
MS activists and anyone concerned about affordable health insurance is encouraged to contact your representative in the House of Representative to ask them to support an amendment to the Blue Cross bills that would maintain current protections for Blue Cross Medigap Legacy policies. You can find the name and email address for your representative at www.legislature.mi.gov via a link near the bottom of the page.
We are very concerned about the speed with which these bills are moving through the legislature. Legislation that can potentially affect the health care of 70% of Michigan citizens deserves close study and ample deliberation. Nothing in the Affordable Care Act requires action before 2014. Action need not - and should not - occur this year!
Anyone who is part of the MS activist network will receive sample messages to send to legislators as further action is taken on insurance issues. Click here to join today. For more information contact Ruth.Linnemann@nmss.org or 517-339-6002.