Changes in healthcare can get a
tad confusing, so it is good to know what is required and what isn't. For example,
did you know there's a new law that makes selling unnecessary “marketplace”
coverage to seniors on Medicare illegal?
Kaiser Health News recently addressed this concern in an article
titled “Selling Marketplace Plans To Medicare
Beneficiaries Will Be Illegal.”
The Problem: Medicare Part A is free
for most beneficiaries and goes toward hospitalization and limited nursing home
care. Since this fulfills the insurance requirements set by law, those on
Medicare generally do not need any additional coverage. For 20 years or so, it has been
illegal for private insurers to try and sell their plans to individuals known
to be Medicare recipients. This is the result of an effort to keep insurers
from taking undue advantage of folks who might not know better.
Of course, Medicare recipients
are not prevented from purchasing marketplace coverage, which is part of the
The Medicare enrollment period
starts next month and runs from October 15 to December 7. Coincidentally, the
first healthcare marketplaces (the “exchanges”) will also start selling online
next month with the requirement for such plans to become effective as of the
beginning of 2014.
Seniors need to know the
difference between Medicare “enrollment” and marketplace purchasing.
Unfortunately, the timing of the two is not helping matters.
Bottom line: Medicare recipients
should not buy on the marketplace what they get by enrollment in Medicare. Hopefully, the legal penalties will scare off those insurance sellers
who might try to make a few extra bucks selling unneeded coverage.