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New AHIP Study in Health Affairs Challenges Previous Assumptions About Medigap's Impact on Medicare Costs
Date:3/12/2008

tudies, however, relied on beneficiaries' self-reported health status rather than looking at more detailed claims-based health status information.

AHIP conducted a detailed analysis of Medicare beneficiaries' expenditures for the most costly health conditions and found that, for each condition and across age groups, the incidence of illness was actually higher among Medigap policyholders than among all Medicare beneficiaries.

"AHIP's study goes further than our original research to help explain the apparent difference in Medicare costs between these two groups," said Judith Shinogle, Assistant Professor of Health Economics at the University of Maryland and a co-author of the original study that analyzed the impact of Medigap on Medicare costs.

AHIP also released a new study of the Medigap market, which found that enrollment in Medigap has remained constant in recent years. The overall number of Medigap policyholders has remained steady and the number of standard Medigap policies in force has increased by three percent between 2004 and 2006, demonstrating the importance of this product for Medicare beneficiaries to protect themselves from high out-of-pocket costs.

Most Medicare beneficiaries with standard Medigap plans purchased Plan F (40 percent), followed by Plan C with 19 percent enrollment. Both of these policies cover 100 percent of the deductibles and coinsurance charged by Medicare.

"Medigap provides beneficiaries with additional benefits not available through Medicare and allows seniors to more accurately budget for medical expenses," said Ignagni, who also noted that more than 90% of Medigap policyholders say they are satisfied with their coverage.

In 2008, the Medicare program has a $1,024 deductible for inpatient hospital care and 20 percent coinsurance for outpatient care after an annual deductible of $135. These are adjusted upward each year and Medicare does not have a limit on beneficiaries' potent
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SOURCE America's Health Insurance Plans
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
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