Delaware cancer patient wins the fight on Medicare insurance reform

 Heather Block (file/NewsWorks)

Heather Block (file/NewsWorks)

The Delaware House voted unanimously to pass a bill reforming supplemental health insurance for disabled residents under the age of 65.

Delaware resident Heather Block, who is battling metastatic breast cancer, championed the bill. “It makes me believe in democracy of the system again,” said Block following the bills passage. “Somebody who is absolutely determined to achieve something can go out and do it.”  

The bill changes the law to allow disabled individuals eligible for Federal Medicare to be able to purchase the same Medicare supplement policies available to elderly Medicare recipients. Currently, Medicare pays for 80 percent and its up to the patient (disabled and under the age of 65) to cover the other 20 percent of costs out of pocket.  

Under the new law, those patients will be able to purchase supplemental insurance to help cover that 20 percent. It also prevents insurance companies from rejecting applications due to a person’s health status.  

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The bill will also require insurers to come up with an equal premium for all disabled residents, rather that scaling the premiums based on the type of disability.

The bill also unanimously passed the Senate earlier this month. “We had unanimous votes in the Senate and House, no I never imagined it would work out that well,” said Block. “I was also worried that it would take a really long period of time and we were able to do this in one session. So, I just think it’s amazing.” 

The bill now heads to Governor Jack Markell’s desk for his signature.

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