Some Missourians have learned too late that a Medicare supplemental plan they have bought is not a supplement at all. The legislature is being asked to pass a law keeping agents from misleading Medicare recipients about what they’re being sold.
So here’s a simple thing to remember: No matter what your agent tells you, a Medicare Advantage policy is not a supplement for your Medicare policy. It’s a replacement and the purchaser might find out that they cannot go to their usual healthcare provider because that provider is not part of the program.
Director Pat Selby with Heartland Retired and Senior Volunteers in Kirksville admits the insurance industry has improved the way the policies are pitched. But she says there are still some bad-actor agents and brokers.
She has told a Senate committee, “During the month of December, 2008, two beneficiaries enrolled in an advantage plan with one particular agent. They were told of the money they would save….Both ended up in an advantage plant heir doctors did not participate in.”
The committee is studying a proposed law requiring insurance-sellers to make it clear that the policy is a replacement, not a supplement, and giving purchasers a couple of days to contact their doctors and other healthcare providers to see if they are included in the policy’s coverage.
A lobbyist for Missouri’s independent insurance agents says 95 to 98 percent of agents do a good job. He says the bill will help the others do a better job it if becomes law.