Editor's Blog

A Brief History of Medicare Supplement

capitol hill medicare supplement history

The history of Medicare Supplement, or Medigap, plans goes back to the 1980’s. In order to strengthen consumer protection, the government created a voluntary program that would allow Medicare recipients to gain coverage for gaps in Medicare.

At the time, this piece of legislation was called the “Baucus Amendment”. Soon enough, both consumers and insurers began to take advantage of the Amendment, which led to the next improvement in the legislation.

The government introduced Medicare and Medicaid Patient and Program Protection Act in 1987. This act made providing false medical information a felony.

The next act to be implemented was The Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act, which further protected consumers by putting restrictions on out-of-pocket costs and premiums that Medigap policyholders are forced to pay.

In the nineties, more legislation was passed to make many of the voluntary guidelines set on insurers mandatory, further protecting policyholders. One of the more important standards implemented during this time placed limits on the preexisting conditions that cause people to get rejected from some Medicare Supplement plans.

In 1999, the Omnibus Consolidation and Emergency Supplemental Appropriation Act was passed. The most important aspect of this act was making insurance providers subject to civil penalties.

In 2003, the Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act came into play, changing the way Medigap plans treated prescription drug plans. Policyholders could either keep their old policies or receive new ones. Those that purchased new plans were protected from rising premiums. Also, the federal government made it illegal for providers to take into account the policyholders past claims, health records, or preexisting conditions to calculate premium.

The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act was passed in 2008, making it illegal for insurance providers to accept or reject potential policyholders based on genetic information.

Throughout the years, the series of acts passed regarding Medicare Supplement insurance has progressively protected the policyholder. Today, Medicare Supplement, or Medigap, remains a very popular insurance product protecting consumers from the out-of-pocket costs that derive from gaps in Medicare coverage.

As a Medigap provider, ManhattanLife knows that shopping for one of these plans can be confusing. There is a lot of information out there, and it can be difficult deciding which information is important to you. 

Visit our Medicare Supplement Plans page for more information.


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