WASHINGTON D.C. (TheStreet) – Changes to Medigap, the supplemental insurance plans that seniors can purchase to provide additional coverage in retirement, will bring additional focus to the costs of these plans in 2010.
If you take out a Medigap policy on or after June 1, 2010, coverage will include the amount of cost sharing for all Part A Medicare eligible hospice care and respite care expenses. Other changes are included that could affect your decisions about your choice of Medigap plan. Four plans will be discontinued, two plans will have changes made to the coverage and two new plans will be added.
Despite the changes, one thing is not expected to change, the large variation in prices for providing exactly the same services.
Choosing a Medigap plan that is appropriate is important, but it is just as important to choose a plan that offers the best price and a stable insurer. A story in Thursday’s New York Times highlighted the importance of making the right choice.
Rates can vary significantly for exactly the same coverage. For example if you are a female aged 65 and you decided to select Plan C, one of the more popular plans, you could obtain coverage for $2,263 per annum with Mutual of Omaha Insurance Co., rated B plus or “Good” for financial strength by TheStreet.com Ratings if you lived in Boca Raton in Florida. The highest rate was Guarantee Trust Life Ins. Co., rated C plus or “Fair” at $3,996.
This price gap of nearly 77% is for exactly the same coverage and for a company rated less financially stable to be charging so much more is unconscionable.
This rate difference is not unusual. If you live in New York it is a community rated state, meaning that whatever your age or sex the price you pay will be the same. You can obtain coverage under Plan F with United Healthcare Ins. Co. of New York (UNH) , rated B minus or “Good” for $2,802. State Farm Mutual Automobile Ins. Co., rated B plus or “Good,” charges $4,337 for exactly the same coverage.