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The New 2010 Modernized Medicare Supplement Plans: Positive Changes in the Midst of Health Care Reform
Date:5/17/2010

As a result of the implementation of the most recent Medicare Modernization Act, Medicare supplement plans are changing once again. Insurance companies selling Medicare supplements must begin offering these new changes to the plans on or before June 1, 2010.

(PRWEB) May 14, 2010 -- Evolution of Medicare supplement insurance from standardization to modernization has taken place during the last twenty years. It has been a long and arduous road for consumers, insurance agents and insurance companies. The challenges have been many, but the results have been positive. A brief history is in order before I explore the new changes for 2010. My focus is on Medicare supplement insurance. A discussion of Medicare Advantage is for another day.

The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990 (OBRA 90) limits Medicare supplement policies to ten standard plans labeled A through J. Each standard plan contains a core benefit package. Plan A consists of the core benefits alone; plans B-J contain additional benefits such as coverage of copayments for care in a skilled nursing facility, benefits for at-home help, coverage of physician charges in excess of Medicare's approved amount, and limited coverage for prescription drugs. All Medicare supplement insurance policies currently issued must conform to one of the ten standard plans, although beneficiaries may renew non-standard plans issued before July 1992.

The Balanced Budget Act of 1997 authorized the offering of a high deductible F and J policy. Beneficiaries purchasing these plans must pay a deductible amount larger than traditional Plans F or J before the standard Medigap Plan F or J benefits begin.

The 2003 Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act (MMA) created the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit, and as a result made changes to the sale of Medigap policies containing outpatient prescription drug bene
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