Member satisfaction soars for Medigap coverage

An overwhelming majority of Medigap members--94 percent--are satisfied with their coverage, according to a new survey from America's Health Insurance Plans. What's more, 91 percent would recommend similar coverage to a friend or relative.

Additionally, 80 percent of the 500 Medigap members surveyed said their policies are an excellent or good value for the money. That figure has remained consistent for several years now, with 79 percent in 2012 reporting Medigap is a good value and 77 percent in 2009.

Survey respondents cited several different benefits, including limits on out-of-pocket costs, simplicity of medical bills and related paperwork, and the ability to budget for unexpected medical costs, when asked what they like most about their Medigap coverage. And 30 percent said they value being able to see the doctors of their choice, while 29 percent said they value that Medigap covers hospital and physician expenses not covered under traditional Medicare.

But despite such overall satisfaction with Medigap, a January study from economists at the University of Texas and University of Chicago claims Medigap plans actually increase Medicare's costs by encouraging more unnecessary tests and procedures, FierceHealthPayer previously reported.

Of the several proposals being considered to alter Medigap, 28 percent of survey respondents said they were most concerned about Medigap being eliminated as a coverage option and 15 percent were worried their out-of-pocket costs would rise by at least $100.

And when asked about President Barack Obama's 2015 budget proposal for a new tax on Medigap members with low cost-sharing requirements, 69 percent said that a price increase would impact their decision to either buy or maintain their Medigap coverage.

"Millions of seniors continue to rely on the valuable financial protection and peace of mind that Medigap coverage provides," AHIP President and CEO Karen Ignagni said yesterday in a statement accompanying the survey. "As Washington considers various proposals to change Medigap, policymakers should avoid cutting the benefits that would disproportionally harm the most vulnerable Medicare beneficiaries."

To learn more:
- see the AHIP survey (.pdf) and statement

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