Medicare & Other Health Insurance

  • CHA Applauds Maryland’s Efforts to Bring Medigap “Birthday Rule” Right to Consumers

    By on March 4, 2020

    California Health Advocates submitted these two letters of support on behalf of Maryland’s HB 653 and SB 659 which would establish the “birthday rule” for Medicare Supplement insurance (Medigap) for Marylanders. Our state originally adopted this rule more than 20 years ago, and Oregon adopted the same rule about 7 years ago. CHA applauds...

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  • House Leaders Introduce Bills to Prevent COBRA from Biting People Eligible for Medicare

    By on February 4, 2020

    “Many retirees are unexpectedly exposed to out-of-pocket liability for any costs paid under COBRA benefits on or after date of Medicare eligibility and penalties for late enrollment in Medicare. Some of this risk would be eliminated if COBRA notices addressed the interaction with Medicare, and vice versa.  Unfortunately, such information is not required under...

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    California Health Advocates
  • House Passes Historic Bill to Lower Drug Prices & Expand Medicare

    By on December 13, 2019

    On December 12th, the U.S. House of Representative passed a historic piece of legislation, Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act (H.R. 3) by a vote of 230-192. If signed into law, this legislation would significantly reduce the cost of prescription drugs for beneficiaries and Medicare, including authorizing Medicare to negotiate prices for...

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    California Health Advocates
  • Open Enrollment is Here! ~ It’s Time to Review Your Medicare Options for 2020

    By on October 15, 2019

    Medicare’s Fall Open Enrollment is here! Officially known as the Annual Election Period (AEP) which runs from October 15 through December 7, this is main time when you can change your coverage. All changes are effective January 1 next year. If you are in a Medicare Advantage plan, you can switch plans or disenroll...

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    California Health Advocates
  • 2020 Brings Changes to Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap)

    By on October 7, 2019

    Congress passed a law in 2015 to prevent Medicare beneficiaries from buying Medigap plans that cover the Medicare Part B deductible. The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) was signed into law on April 16, 2015 with an effective date of January 1, 2020. This change in federal law, prohibiting coverage...

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    California Health Advocates
  • Adding Long Term Care Services to Medigaps Isn’t a Good Option & Here’s Why

    By on July 19, 2019

    Below is California Health Advocate’s comment letter to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) about Medigap and long term care services and supports (LTSS). It is in response to Chairman Neal’s of the House Ways and Means Committee inquiry about the possibility of including these benefits in Medigap policies.   While we share Chairman...

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  • CHA Weighs in on Medigaps & Innovative Benefits

    By on June 4, 2019

    Bonnie Burns, our Training and Policy Specialist and also long-time consumer representative of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), submitted this letter to the Chair of the NAIC Senior Issues Task Force, Lori Wing-Heier. Burns addresses the conundrum of the introduction of “innovative benefits” in some standardized Medigap policies in various states and...

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    California Health Advocates
  • Keep Medigap Plans Standardized ~ Support SB 407

    By on February 28, 2019

    Approximately 11 million Medicare beneficiaries have Medicare Supplement insurance, better known as Medigap. Medigap pays some or all of Medicare’s out-of-pocket costs, namely the coinsurance and deductibles. Medigap insurance is offered through 10 standardized, easily comparable benefit packages, plans A-N, mandated under federal law. (Note: plans E, H, I and J were previously removed...

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    California Health Advocates
  • COBRA Warning for People Eligible for Medicare

    By on January 15, 2019

    If you are eligible for Medicare, regardless of whether you signed up for it, COBRA can bite you! COBRA – the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act – gives you the legal right to continue group health benefits when they might otherwise end due to job loss, divorce or death. They are the same as...

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    California Health Advocates
  • VA’s New Final Rule Affects Several of its Needs-Based Programs

    By on October 30, 2018

    Earlier this month, the Department of Veteran Affairs’ new final rule went into affect, which significantly impacts the VA Pension, the Aid & Attendance Benefit and some other needs-based benefit programs. Those who work with Veterans should be aware of these changes when advising clients. Many of the changes affect certain eligibility requirements, including:...

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    California Health Advocates