Obamacare: did not change Medigap plans

I have a friend whose husband is dying.  He is getting a lot of medical care, including stuff that Medicare does not cover.  It’s costing them a lot of money.  They are both in their 70’s, retired to New Mexico, and never bought a Medicare supplemental plan.  Can they buy one now?  And would his pre-existing condition be covered?

Trying To Help

Dear Trying To Help,

Health reform did not touch Medicare supplemental plans (“Medigap”).  If a person does not buy a supplemental plan within the first six months of joining Medicare, he can apply to the company.  The application will include a health questionnaire, and the company can charge him more based upon his health or refuse to sell him a plan altogether.

So, sorry to say, he probably cannot buy a Medigap plan now.  New Mexico did “expand” Medicaid to cover all low income households.  If their income is less than $20,921, then he would qualify for Medicaid.  This would help with his medical bills.  Medicaid does have the right to recoup money after he dies from his estate.

The wife’s best bet is to talk to an attorney who specializes in elder law, Medicare, and estates.  I’m sure she can easily find one.

Linda Riddell

About Linda Riddell

A published author and health policy analyst with 25 years’ experience, Linda Riddell's goal is to alleviate the widespread ailment of not knowing what your health plan can do for you.