Medigap: Current Polices Contain Coverage Gaps, Undermine Cost Control Incentives

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Testimony issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Medicare provides valuable and extensive health care coverage for 40 million elderly and disabled beneficiaries. Nevertheless, significant gaps leave some beneficiaries vulnerable to sizeable out-of-pocket expenses. Medicare provides no limit on out-of-pocket spending and no coverage for most outpatient prescription drugs. Most beneficiaries have supplemental coverage that helps to fill Medicare coverage gaps and pay some out-of-pocket expenses. Privately purchased Medigap policies are a widely available source of supplemental coverage. The other sources--employer-sponsored policies, Medicare + Choice plans, and Medicaid--are not available to all beneficiaries. Medigap policies help ... continued below

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United States. General Accounting Office. March 14, 2002.

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Description

Testimony issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Medicare provides valuable and extensive health care coverage for 40 million elderly and disabled beneficiaries. Nevertheless, significant gaps leave some beneficiaries vulnerable to sizeable out-of-pocket expenses. Medicare provides no limit on out-of-pocket spending and no coverage for most outpatient prescription drugs. Most beneficiaries have supplemental coverage that helps to fill Medicare coverage gaps and pay some out-of-pocket expenses. Privately purchased Medigap policies are a widely available source of supplemental coverage. The other sources--employer-sponsored policies, Medicare + Choice plans, and Medicaid--are not available to all beneficiaries. Medigap policies help to fill in some of Medicare's gaps but also have shortcomings. In 1999, premiums paid for Medigap policies averaged $1,300, with more than 20 percent going to administrative costs. Medigap plans typically cover Medicare's required deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments but do not fully protect beneficiaries from potentially significant out-of-pocket costs. Medigap policies offering prescription drug coverage can be inadequate because beneficiaries still pay most of the cost and the Medigap benefit is capped."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • March 14, 2002

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  • June 10, 2014, 6:42 a.m.

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United States. General Accounting Office. Medigap: Current Polices Contain Coverage Gaps, Undermine Cost Control Incentives, text, March 14, 2002; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc289982/: accessed December 13, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.