Is Delaware ready for new supplemental insurance law?

Frustrations for a Delaware cancer patient trying to get the supplemental Medicare insurance that state lawmakers required insurers to offer earlier this year.

Thanks in big part to the grass roots lobbying effort of Heather Block, Delaware lawmakers passed legislation requiring insurers to offer supplemental insurance to bridge the gap in coverage for Medicare recipients.  

Block, a Lewes woman who has metastatic breast cancer, led the charge to make the change after finding that while Medicare paid for 80 percent of her medical bills because of her disability, she was unable to get supplemental coverage cover the remaining 20 percent.  

But even though legislation to require insurers to cover those who are disabled and under the age of 65 with supplemental insurance was approved and signed into law, patients like Block have had trouble finding rates and have been frustrated by the response from the Delaware Department of Insurance.

In a letter to Insurance Commissioner Karen Weldin-Stewart, Block writes, “I checked with United Healthcare (AARP), they said they provided no Medigap policies to under 65 disabled and knew nothing of the new law.”

Block then tried to get answers from Weldin-Stewart’s office, but found little, if any, help.  “No one knew anything,” Block said.  “They went so far as to suggest that I contact all insurers and request rates, forgetting their role in reviewing rates to ensure they used ‘sound actuarial principles.'”

She says she has received no response to her inquiries from the Weldin-Stewart.  WHYY has also not received a response from the Department of Insurance in our efforts to determine how prepared the department is to implement the new law.

Block’s predicament is complicated even more by the fact that she’s responding well to cancer treatment.  Because of that, she says she’s received word from her disability insurer, Mutual of Omaha, that the company is considering ending her disability benefits.  You can read more about that issue in Block’s Essayworks piece penned for Newsworks.org.

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