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Levin Introduces Bill to Strengthen Consumer Protections for Medicare Beneficiaries with Pre-Existing Conditions

Statement

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Today, Representative Sandy Levin (D-MI), the Ranking Member of the Ways and Means Health Subcommittee, introduced the Medigap Consumer Protection Act of 2018. The bill provides a long-overdue overhaul of the laws governing the Medicare supplemental coverage market, also known as Medigap. These plans provide additional benefits to approximately 12 million Medicare beneficiaries.

"Federal law protecting Medigap enrollees has not been meaningfully strengthened in nearly three decades -- leaving Medicare beneficiaries vulnerable to discrimination based on their pre-existing conditions," said Rep. Levin. "The Medigap Consumer Protection Act will prevent discrimination and ensure that all Medicare beneficiaries, regardless of disability, age, or health status, have access to high-quality, affordable supplemental coverage."

The bill institutes a number of key reforms to lower costs and improve the supplemental coverage market for Medicare beneficiaries, especially those with disabilities and end-stage renal disease.

Specifically, the bill would:

Strengthen federal consumer protections to ensure that beneficiaries with disabilities and end-stage renal disease can purchase a Medigap policy without being denied coverage or subjected to higher premiums based on their health status or pre-existing conditions.
Extend protections to other beneficiaries, including individuals in Medicare Advantage who wish to switch back to traditional Medicare.
Improve plan efficiency by calling for a review of medical loss ratio requirements, which limit the percentage of premium dollars insurers can spend on administration and profits.
Call for a review of pricing standards in the Medigap market to prohibit the sale of policies that discriminate based on the age of individuals.
Require the Secretary of HHS to conduct a comprehensive overhaul of the Plan Finder website to ensure that beneficiaries have access to complete and understandable information when comparing enrollment options.
Restore access to the two most popular Medigap policies (Plans C and F), which are set to be eliminated for beneficiaries who enroll in Medicare after January 1, 2020.
Improve transparency by requiring issuers to disclose payments to Medigap brokers and agents through the Open Payments database.
The bill is cosponsored by Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Richard E. Neal, as well as Committee Democrats John Lewis, Earl Blumenauer, Brian Higgins, Judy Chu, and Danny K. Davis.

A summary and copy of the bill text may be viewed on the Rep. Levin's website.


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