Lawmakers ask for stricter review of Medigap rates

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Oct. 18, 2010

Print  |   Email  |   Respond  |   Reprints  |   Like Facebook  |   Share Twitter  |   Tweet Linkedin

Three Democratic senators are requesting that states create better insurance rate reviews to protect seniors with Medigap supplemental coverage from what they deem as unnecessary rate increases.

In the letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Oct. 6, Sens. Harry Reid (D, Nev.), Max Baucus (D, Mont.) and John Kerry (D, Mass.) cited a situation where United of Omaha Life Insurance Co. increased Medigap premiums for some seniors by about 40%. "An increase of this magnitude raises serious concerns about premium-setting practices and rate review procedures in place for Medigap policies," the senators wrote. They asked Sebelius to work with states to help them gain authority to conduct annual reviews of Medigap premium increases.

United of Omaha said this level of premium increase is rare and affects 1% of its Medicare supplement policies.

It occurred when individuals were quoted rates and applied for coverage while premium increases were pending regulatory approval, the company said in a Oct. 8 statement. Lower quotes were honored initially, but the rates later were raised to bring them in line with premiums that similar policy holders pay. "This, combined with a small age-based adjustment, would account for the premium increase referenced in the senators' letter," the company said.

America's Health Insurance Plans said premium increases are driven by the "soaring cost of underlying medical care" and that state insurance commissioners already review and approve Medigap rates adequately.

Note: This item originally appeared at

Back to top



Read story

Confronting bias against obese patients

Medical educators are starting to raise awareness about how weight-related stigma can impair patient-physician communication and the treatment of obesity. Read story

Read story


American Medical News is ceasing publication after 55 years of serving physicians by keeping them informed of their rapidly changing profession. Read story

Read story

Policing medical practice employees after work

Doctors can try to regulate staff actions outside the office, but they must watch what they try to stamp out and how they do it. Read story

Read story

Diabetes prevention: Set on a course for lifestyle change

The YMCA's evidence-based program is helping prediabetic patients eat right, get active and lose weight. Read story

Read story

Medicaid's muddled preventive care picture

The health system reform law promises no-cost coverage of a lengthy list of screenings and other prevention services, but some beneficiaries still might miss out. Read story

Read story

How to get tax breaks for your medical practice

Federal, state and local governments offer doctors incentives because practices are recognized as economic engines. But physicians must know how and where to find them. Read story

Read story

Advance pay ACOs: A down payment on Medicare's future

Accountable care organizations that pay doctors up-front bring practice improvements, but it's unclear yet if program actuaries will see a return on investment. Read story

Read story

Physician liability: Your team, your legal risk

When health care team members drop the ball, it's often doctors who end up in court. How can physicians improve such care and avoid risks? Read story

  • Stay informed
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • RSS
  • LinkedIn