Medigap Reform Legislation of 1990: Have the Objectives Been Met?

September 1996
McCormack LA, Fox PD, Rice T, and Graham ML

Health Care Financing Review

The 1990 medigap reform legislation had multiple objectives: To simplify the insurance market in order to facilitate policy comparison, provide consumer choice, provide market stability, promote competition, and avoid adverse selection. Based on case study interviews with a cross-section of individuals and organizations, we report that most of these objectives have been achieved. Consumers of medigap plans are able to make more informed choices, largely because they can adequately compare policies based on standard benefits. Marketing abuses have apparently declined, as evidenced by a decrease in the number of consumer complaints. Finally, no major detrimental impact on the insurance industry was detected. Beneficiaries still face some confusion in this market, however, such as understanding the rating methodologies used to set premiums and how this may affect their choices. Confusion could increase with the growth of managed care options.