officials are eager to get the word out that seniors and disabled
individuals enrolled in Medicare Part A -- which covers hospitalization and
limited nursing home care and is free for most beneficiaries – do not need
to buy a marketplace plan, because they are already meeting the insurance
Changes in healthcare can get a
tad confusing, so it is wise to know what is required and what isn't. For example,
did you know there's a new law that makes selling unnecessary “marketplace”
coverage to seniors on Medicare illegal?
Kaiser Health News recently addressed this concern in an article
titled “Selling Marketplace Plans To Medicare
Beneficiaries Will Be Illegal.”
Problem: Medicare Part A is free
for most beneficiaries and goes toward hospitalization and limited nursing home
care. Since this fulfills the insurance requirements set by law, those on
Medicare do not need anything in addition. For some 20-odd years it has been
illegal for private insurers to try and sell their plans to individuals known
to be Medicare recipients. This is the result of an effort to keep insurers
from taking advantage of Medicare recipients.
Of course, Medicare recipients
are not prevented from purchasing marketplace coverage, which is part of the
The Medicare enrollment period
starts next month and runs from October 15 to December 7. Coincidentally, the
first healthcare marketplaces (the “exchanges”) will also start selling online
next month with the requirement for such plans to become effective as of the
beginning of 2014.
Seniors need to know the
difference between Medicare “enrollment” and marketplace purchasing.
Unfortunately, the timing of the two is not helping matters.
Bottom line: Medicare recipients
should not buy on the marketplace what they get by enrollment all because of a
mix-up. Hopefully, the legal penalties will scare off those insurance sellers
who might try to confuse seniors.
Reference: Kaiser Health
News (September 13, 2013) “Selling Marketplace Plans To Medicare
Beneficiaries Will Be Illegal”