New Study: People With Medicare Supplement Coverage Two Times Less Likely To Have Problems Paying Medical Bills

posted by David Allen

on July 7, 2020

AHIP report examines latest Medicare Supplement demographics and enrollment trends

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Everyone deserves affordable, comprehensive coverage that protects their health and financial security. Medicare Supplement insurance (Medigap) is an attractive solution for many, helping to protect Medicare-eligible Americans from out-of-pocket costs not covered by Medicare.  In a report released today, America’s Health Insurance Plans’ (AHIP) Center for Policy and Research examines Medicare Supplement coverage options, current demographics of enrollees with Medicare Supplement policies, and the most recent enrollment trends.

Key takeaways from today’s report include:

  • Among fee-for-service (FFS) Medicare enrollees without additional insurance coverage (such as Medicaid, employer-provided insurance, etc.), 49% had Medicare Supplement coverage in 2017.
  • Between December 2017 and December 2018, national Medicare Supplement enrollment increased from 13.5 million to 14 million enrollees.
  • Medicare enrollees with Medicare Supplement coverage were two times less likely to have problems paying medical bills compared to enrollees without Medicare Supplement policies. Only 5% of enrollees with Medicare Supplement coverage reported having difficulty paying medical bills in last 12 months, compared to 12% of FFS Medicare enrollees without Medicare Supplement coverage.
  • More women than men (56% to 44%) enroll in Medicare Supplement plans.

“Health insurance providers are committed to ensuring people have affordable choices for health care coverage and Medicare Supplement insurance plays an important role in affordability by helping to fill coverage ‘gaps’ for millions of Americans in Medicare,” said Matt Eyles, AHIP president and CEO.  “As today’s report illustrates, a growing number of America’s seniors find value in the protection Medicare Supplement plans provide from uncovered medical expenses and complex doctor and hospital bills.”

Sources for the 2020 report are the 2018 National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) data, the 2018 California’s Department of Managed Health Care data, and the 2017 Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey (MCBS) results.

Read the full study here.