The current environment around healthcare reform is a cloudy one at best. What may be applicable in one state may not be the same in another state. What may be applicable at age 64, may not be applicable at age 65 or 75. Seniors are often confused or even misguided, often unintentionally, by friends or family who think they fully understand all the changes and requirements of Medicare and other Senior insurance products. The question typically stems from a Medicare Supplement member watching a segment on their local news about the Affordable Care Act. The 60-second segment will quickly mention that the Affordable Care Act will no longer allow health insurance companies to deny individuals coverage based on pre-existing conditions. Of course, this is music to the policyholder’s ears. Except for one minor detail: they didn’t listen to the rest of the story…
The reality is that Medicare Supplement policies are not subject to this part of the Affordable Care Act that prohibits health insurance companies from denying individuals coverage based on pre-existing conditions. And any Medicare supplement policyholder will still be subject to the same policies (including going through the underwriting process) that have been in place if he or she wants to switch plans.
Therefore, the responsibility of a good insurance agent is twofold:
1. Explain to their clients when the policy is initially purchased so their expectations are realistic.
2. Maintain ngoing communication with their clients on a regular basis, so they fully understand the latest on healthcare reform.
These two items are important so seniors do not contact their insurer directly and cancel their existing coverage because they were perhaps misguided by their favorite local news personality or even a loved one who doesn’t quite understand the nuances as well as a qualified insurance professional.