Medicare supplement (Medigap) buyers may be putting factors such as reputation and service quality ahead of price when they're shopping for Plan F type coverage.
Researchers at the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation come to that conclusion in a new review of Medigap market trends.
Some would-be federal budget cutters contend that access to first-dollar Medigap coverage encourages enrollees to use too medical care. Other health policy specialists, including some at the National Association of Insurance of Commissioners (NAIC), contend that first-dollar coverage encourages enrollees to get much-needed care and protects seniors living on tight, fixed incomes from big, unexpected medical bills.
To study how sensitive Medicare plan enrollees are to premiums, the Kaiser analysts looked at how well carriers' Plan F market share figures correlated with prices in states in which Medigap prices were based entirely on claims for the entire community, rather than on an individual enrollee's age at time of purchase.