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CU supports efforts to make it easier to compare Medigap policies

November 9, 2005
Commissioner Jorge Gomez, Chair
NAIC Senior Issues Task Force
2301 McGee Street, Suite 800
Kansas City, Missouri 64108-2662
Dear Commissioner Gomez:
We understand that at the November Interim Meeting in Kansas City, the Task Force asked for comments on Modernizing Medigap insurance policies and collapsing the number of standardized Medigap plans.
Consumers Union, the independent, non-profit publisher of Consumer Reports, strongly supports efforts to make it easier for consumers to compare Medigap policies. A number of today’s policies have variations in coverage that offer very little value, but which make comparison shopping very difficult.
The August 29, 2005 press release of Weiss Ratings Inc., documented the continuing, extraordinary variation of price among identical policies, with Plan A and Plan F policies showing some variations in price of 500% or more. Clearly, consumer organizations need to do more to help seniors understand the variation in these policies and the importance of careful shopping. Reducing the number of standard plan options would be one way to easily help consumers better see the pricing differences without removing any options or services of particular value to consumers.
We hope that the NAIC will move quickly to make simplification recommendations on its own and avoid adding the unnecessary step of Congressional involvement.
William Vaughan
Senior Policy Analyst
Washington Office