What will they find? The much-ballyhooed protections about preexisting conditions may not apply to them. Vicki Gottlich, a senior attorney with the Center for Medicare Advocacy told me that, generally, if you have had an MA plan for the first time and don’t like the new prices or the cuts, you can go back to traditional Medicare and buy a Medigap policy without facing restrictions on preexisting conditions. But if you’ve had two or three different MA plans over the years and try to buy a Medigap policy, sellers can impose health restrictions. How’s that for simplicity?
Then there’s the matter of premiums for these policies; they will continue to rise, too. There’s also the little-reported new twist to the benefits offered by Plans C and F, the most popular Medigap policies. Changes mandated by the reform law will shift more of the cost of medical care to the seniors who buy them. That may mean, for example, that instead of these policies covering the 20 percent coinsurance Medicare requires for doctors’ visits, the new rules could mean the policies will pay only 10 percent. Guess who pays the rest?
So when the president and the pols say no one is cutting “basic or guaranteed benefits,” that’s true. But they are telling only half the story. How about the press telling the other half?