The woman behind Delaware’s changing Medicare law


    How one woman played a key role in changing Delaware law to offer supplemental Medigap premiums to people with disabilities under the age of 65. 

    A Delaware woman living with metastatic breast cancer is celebrating a victory in the first state.  She recently championed a bill that will allow people with disabilities to buy supplemental health insurance under Medicare in Delaware. 

    Heather Block has metastatic breast cancer, meaning the disease has spread to her organs and can’t be cured, only managed by treatement. So Heather, who’s spent her life helping others in dangerous parts of the world like Afghanistan, Iraq and Kosovo, is now unable to work.

    Because she’s classified as disabled, Heather qualifies for Medicare. But Medicare in Delaware would only cover 80 percent of the bills, leaving Heather to pay the remaining 20 percent out of pocket. When she realized that going onto Medicare could bankrupt her, she decided to campaign for a change in the law.

    The new law, which comes into effect on Jan. 1, forces insurance companies in Delaware to offer supplemental policies to disabled people under the age of 65. The premiums have to be affordable, and insurers can’t refuse patients or charge higher rates based on their disability.

    Pulse contributor Sophie Reid went to meet Block at her home in Lewes, Del. to find out how she took on the insurance companies and, ultimately, changed the law in Delaware. 

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