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UHC Medigap rate increase history

On average how much has your medigap policy increased each year?  I am planning to use Plan G, but trying to decide who has lower increases overall.  The UHC community plan or an attained age plan such as Aetna or Cigna.  It looks like with UHC I'll get a 3% increase each year because of the initial enrollment discount  plus an inflation or any type of increase  each year?  

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My UHC plan increased 29% for the next year.  That is like unbelievable.  I could see maybe a 7 to 10 % increase but really.  This seems totally out of line.  Going from $197 per month to $254 per month. 

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This site may give you some insights as to approved Medigap policy premium increase:

 

https://lp.newhorizonsmktg.com/medicare-supplement-rate-changes

 

 

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I’m in GA, my Medicare supplement with UHC just increased from $570.13 to $610.2, effective last month.

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Periodic Contributor

It looks like a 7% increase in your UHC premium... This may be the 3% decrease in the "discount" (if there is a discount in Georgia) coupled with an approximate 4% increase in the actual premium.  

                                                                                                                                                   It seems insane that we pay $165 in 2023 for Medicare which covers 80% of our medical expenses and then a significantly larger premium (in your case $610) to UHC to basically cover some portion of the remaining 20% of our medical expenses.  

                               

What is AARP doing about controlling these increasing premiums? 

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Honored Social Butterfly

@seamanjg wrote

What is AARP doing about controlling these increasing premiums? 

=================

WHAT?

Why would AARP do anything?

Medicare Supplemental coverage or MediGAP isn’t something that HAS TO BE purchased at all.  It is a choice as to whether or not to get a MediGAP policy - it is a GAP insurance product NOT health insurance.

Plus a Traditional Medicare beneficiary does not have to buy a MediGAP policy from UHC - there are probably many insurers in your area that offer MediGAP coverage and ALL of the alphabet type coverage under these type plans are ALL IDENTICAL in coverage because how each of these alphabet plans is covered is Federally regulated by CMS.

Medicare.gov Compare MediGAP Plan Benefits 

 

Perhaps shop for the one of your choice that has a lower premium - but avoid underwriting if you can - don’t cancel the old one until you have the new one in hand.  Being able to change plans without medical underwriting and when or being uprated is a function of State Insurance Depts. so know the rules of your state.

Medicare.gov Fine A MediGAP Policy That Works For You

 

To be able to get an AARP/UHC MediGAP plan, the Medicare beneficiary HAS TO BE A member of AARP - so that also adds to the cost of this insurer.  You DO NOT have to be a member of AARP for a AARP/UHC Medicare Advantage plan.  Go figure ?

 

You have lots of options for YOUR choice.  

 

 

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
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Hi, Gail and others ~ I had quite a surprise when I enrolled in GAP insurance.  Social Security informed me that I had a pay a "penalty fee" monthly for each year that I was not enrolled in a Medicare Advantage program.  I did not know this.  So a word of caution to those of us that didn't/don't have a GAP plan, you ARE accumulating penalty fee's that NEVER GO AWAY and are added to your premiums FOREVER.  Just what we all need, huh?

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Andrea, whoever told you that you had to pay a penalty for each year that you were not enrolled in a Medicare Advantage program either didn't know what they were talking about or you didn't fully understand what they told you. You do need to be enrolled in Original Medicare (the Red, White and Blue card) or you'll incur a penalty, but a Medicare Advantage plan is NOT required. Medicare Advantage plans (Part C) are an alterative to Original Medicare, but you have to already be enrolled in Medicare Part A & B to be able to switch to a Medicare Advantage (Part C). A Medicare MediGap Plan (such as Plan F, G or N) is supplemental to Original Medicare Part A & B and pays what Original Medicare doesn't pay on an approved claim.

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Honored Social Butterfly

@andreaY29 

Sounds like to me that you need to understand the program of Medicare a bit better.

Late sign up penalties are only assessed under certain conditions.

  • When you don’t sign up for Medicare (Parts A, B) at age 65 and HAVE NO OTHER coverage that is sanctioned by Medicare.
  • When you are LATE signing up for Medicare Part B  -LATE as defined by Medicare (CMS) on the various defined enrollment periods.
  • When you fail to sign up for a Medicare Prescription Drug plan and have no other credible coverage as defined by CMS.

Traditional Medicare or a Medicare Advantage plan are ONLY a choice that each Medicare beneficiary has to make on how to receive ones benefits.  

A Medigap policy is a choice - you do not have to have a Medigap policy.  A Medigap plan only works with Traditional Medicare.  The ONLY function of a Medigap plan is to financially protect a Medicare beneficiary that has chosen Traditional Medicare as the manner they want to get their benefits.  

 

EVERY Medicare Beneficiary has to have Medicare Part A, Medicare Part B and Medicare Part D (or an acceptable/creditable Prescription Drug [Part D] plan that meets Medicare (CMS) standards 

Read Medicare and You - the official guidebook to Medicare and all its various Parts.  It will help you to understand the program better.

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
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Periodic Contributor

If we are all paying the same AARP membership fee, then why are some people receiving a "discount" and others are not? AARP and UHC are partners in the AARP-UHC Medicare Supplement Plans and, like the AARP-UHC Medicare Advantage Plans, AARP profits from this Medicare Supplemental Plans partnership. People, including myself, joined the AARP-UHC Medicare Supplemental plan because we trusted AARP to look out for us and because the premiums were lower that other private insurers. Once one loses that discount however, the premiums become the similar to other private insurers. 

 

AARP-UHC Medicare Supplemental Plan is a SECONDARY HEALTH INSURANCE program regulated by each state's Board of Insurance. It pays a portion of medical expenses that one's primary plan (Medicare) does not cover. Check with your own state's Board of Insurance. Each state's Board of Insurance then regulates premium increased. I do not see the state Board of Insurance playing any role with the "discount" that some AARP members are receiving while others are not.

 

The purpose of joining AARP was for group representation and protection for the elderly community. IMO, AARP has failed in its purpose repeatedly. (For example, 20 years ago when I joined AARP, we knew that Social Security was in financial trouble and here we are still facing the same issue. I would say that is a failure on the part of AARP!)

 

Your responses are not helpful unless you can tell me how much AARP earns from the AARP-UHC Medicare Supplemental program and why some members are not receiving the discount. It is clearly documented that AARP earned $4 BILLION dollars teaming up with UHC on the Medicare Advantage program. 

 

Thank you.

 

 

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Honored Social Butterfly

@seamanjg wrote:

If we are all paying the same AARP membership fee, then why are some people receiving a "discount" and others are not? 

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

All healthcare cost are local 

States control the actual rules of how MediGAP plans work in their state - 

As to why

- the [declining] discount % is available in some states and not others

- why premiums are higher in some states than others and why premium cost may go UP if a beneficiary moves to another state 

A wild guess, since I am not an agent - 

In some states - like CA, MISSOURI, NY, to name a few, state regulations allow Medicare beneficiaries with MediGAP policies to change their policies without underwriting at specific times during the year - this condition makes the cost of the policies increase just because of the risk adjustment; thus these policies in these states usually don't have the declining discount offered in other states - and premium cost are much higher because of this [switching with no underwriting] ability the state has given their MediGAP policy holders.  

Missouri calls this their "anniverary rule", CA calls it their "birthday rule"

MISSOURI MEDIGAP SHOPPING GUIDE 

[see page 10] 

There are other differences from state to state as to what other benefits that could be offered - like some states allow disabled adults less than 65 to buy a MediGAP policy - other's don't.  OR there could be auxilliary benefits in specific plans and not others - 

 

AARP and UHC are NOT partners at all with MediGAP or MAPD plans - It is a sales deal - that's it - a royalty deal.

 

From AARP

AARP® MEDICARE SUPPLEMENT FROM

UNITEDHEALTHCARE®

[from the link] DISCLOSURE

AARP commercial member benefits are provided by third parties, not by AARP or its affiliates. Providers pay a royalty fee to AARP for the use of its intellectual property. These fees are used for the general purposes of AARP. Some provider offers are subject to change and may have restrictions.

FROM UHC:

AARP UHC Medicare Supplemental Ins.

UnitedHealthcare pays royalty fees to AARP for the use of its intellectual property. These fees are used for the general purposes of AARP. AARP and its affiliates are not insurers. AARP does not employ or endorse agents, brokers or producers.

 

I am sorry you were under the wrong impression about AARP's role with UHC and Medicare plans that bear their [branded] name. 

 

Medigap plans are very expensive over the lifetime - as we age, we use more healthcare for this and that, healthcare cost continue to go up and just because of what these plans cover - The GAP escalates.   But hey, you are protected financially based on the MediGAP plan you picked; isn't that why you picked a MediGAP plan?

 

I gave links to my info from the subject sources as well as state government (Missouri).  Where are your links to your reputable info?  

 

Again, MediGAP plans are NOT health insurance - they are a secondary insurance that protects the policy holder from financial ruin in case of a catastrophic financial injury or illness.  That's it -

 

The amount of royalties that AARP received in TY 2021 was :

AARP - Sch VIII Form 990  

Royalties...........
 
1,062,683,603

I don't have time to see if I could break it down by vendor - that's all of their royalty income.

If you can digest this tax reporting [990], you can see what the AARP actually does and where the money comes from and also where it goes.

 

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
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Newbie

Roseanna, the information you provided has been very helpful.  Thank you.

 

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Periodic Contributor

Hi there! We certainly understand your concern regarding your rate increase with UHC. Unfortunately, AARP does not have control over this. Rate increases are happening industry wide and the rate of the premium increase is regulated by the Department of Insurance.

 

We apologize for any inconvenience this issue may have caused. Thank you for you valued membership with AARP.

 

Sincerely,

Mariama A.

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I would like AARP to explain the "discount"; I assume that this discount comes from AARP. Why did one person (@h90215h - refer below) told that they lost their discount when they moved to Florida and why I was I told that there was no discount in Missouri when I moved from Virginia? Why are our AARP membership benefits less than other members? I do not need another "PR" reply - I would appreciate some actual information. 

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Periodic Contributor

I would say that a disappearing discount is similar to a store raising item prices to above MSRP, then taking 20% off.  In other words, it’s just a lure to get you in.

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Periodic Contributor

I imagine that you need to contact United Healthcare with that question. I'd be shocked to think that AARP has much of any say in rates.

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LOL... II did speak to UHC; there seems to be a special contact resource for the AARP-UHC Medicare Supplemental Plan. The person I spoke to could not... or would not... discuss the discount issue. The rep merely said that there was no discount in Missouri.

 

I am quite confident that AARP makes money from the AARP-UHC Medicare Supplemental Plans just as it does from the AARP Medicare Advantage Plan. AARP made S4 BILLION dollars from that program. 

 

Based on the information available online, it appears that AARP has a lot of involvement in these plans although, IMO, AARP seems to want to hide their role.  Actually speaking to someone at AARP instead of these "contributors" is quite challenging.

 

The purpose of AARP is to help protect the senior community - not make big profits based on this community's needs. I paid the same membership fee as anyone else in AARP so why do some people receive a "discount" while others do not?

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I spoke to United Healthcare, and I believe if they offer the discount at all in a state, they offer it to everyone.  The discount decreases 3% each year, which actually has the same effect as "attained age" rating, as Roseanna describes below. (UHC claims to have "community based" rating.)  So, when they tell you -- as they just told me -- that for the past 4 years the "base rate" has increased an average of 1.3%, you have to add the 3% onto it to see what the real rate increase is. Sneaky, if you ask me. I would be interested in finding out about the person in this thread who said the increase was 7% or more.... I'm trying to find out the historical rate increases of several companies for comparison, but the data is buried.

 

 

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That data is indeed deeply buried.  Very hard to find.

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Honored Social Butterfly


@seamanjg wrote:

It seems insane that we pay $165 in 2023 for Medicare which covers 80% of our medical expenses and then a significantly larger premium (in your case $610) to UHC to basically cover the remaining 20% of our medical expenses. 


MediGAP is NOT medical insurance.  It is GAP type coverage which is a financial protection insurance that covers a GAP in coverage of whatever type.

 

For Medigap coverage, the premiums can be based on one of several methods depending upon the insurer and the policy.

1.  Community Rated

2.  Issue Age Rated

3.  Attained Age Rated.

For many UHC MediGAP policies there is also a discount that disappears a bit each year as the policy progresses.  IOW, the discount declines ; meaning the premiums increase for this reason + the cost of coverage which is based on medical cost + how the policy is rated.

 

 

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
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AARP should protect its senior members, not UnitedHealth's profits

sun-sentinel.com

 
Under the AARP brand, UnitedHealth has been offering Medicare Advantage health benefits and Medicare Part D drug benefits since 1997. AARP receives a 4.95% fee for each plan sold and has received over $4 billion to date. The partnership will continue through at least 2025.
 
This makes one wonder how much AARP makes from the AARP-UHC Medicare Supplemental plans. 
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Periodic Contributor

The AARP-UHC Medicare Supplemental Medical Insurance (often referred to as Medicare Gap) is like any other secondary medical insurance plan which pay some percentage of medical expenses after the primary plan (Medicare). The "discount" is inconsistent as some locations, such as Missouri, do not have any discount. This is what I was told when I contacted UHC regarding my premium. Those retirees who do have a discount will see that it decreased each year. The premiums for the AARP-UHC Medicare Supplemental Insurance are significantly higher the Medicare itself. If you are an affluent retiree and can pay these high premiums then you are fortunate but there many retirees who are struggling, even when selecting supplemental insurance plans that provide less coverage then "plan G". Medicare premiums are not based on community ratings or ages - premiums are consistent throughout the entire United States. The same can not be said for these supplemental insurance plans. (My personal premium increased 60% when I moved to Missouri, in part because there is no discount in this state.) Many retirees may not be able to afford their supplemental insurance as they grow older with the discount decreasing and their premium continuing to increase. It would be difficult for some retirees to pay $775 (Medicare: $165 + Supplemental: $610) each month, which the original writer in Georgia reported, when the average Social Security benefit is $1,781.63 (reported by SSA, 2023).

 

It is my opinion that AARP needs to do more to address this issue.

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Honored Social Butterfly

Medigap rates are approved at the state level - 

Of course, there is a lot of unfairness in Medigap cost and ability to change to another policy without underwriting because those things are also controlled by the state.

 

Because premiums can escalate for Medigap plans - the main reason why Medicare Part C came along - to give people another option of coverage.

 

If you really wanted to do something about the cost of this 

GAP coverage - let’s do away with the coverage all together - by supporting the concept that Trad. Medicare should have an out of pocket limit - annual and lifetime.

 

Yes, UHC pays AARP a royalty for the use of the name and insignia - same with pretty much all the benefits offered by AARP - it is how they fund their work.

 

Medigap coverage is an option by the beneficiary - their choice.  

 

 

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
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I agree with you - Medicare was originally intended to be stand alone coverage, with the assumption that people could afford to pick up the difference between what Medicare paid and what was approved. Times have changed. Medigap (supplemental) plans have become very expensive, especially as people age. Insurance companies know that the higher rates encourage or force people in to Medicare Advantage (Part C) plans with their low premiums. They do this solely because they make much larger profits from those plans than they do from Medigap plans. Medicare Part C is essentially the privatization of Medicare, in which the government pays health insurance companies to provide coverage under the guise of Medicare. We need to fight for getting rid of Medicare Part C, in my opinion. The health insurance lobby is very powerful. They contribute hundreds of millions of $$ to politicians every year. The way to start this battle is to work to repeal the Supreme Court Citizens United ruling (thank you Judge Scalia) that allows corporations to contribute unlimited amounts of money to politicians - which is primarily responsible for this situation.

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I was just told by United Healthcare that I lost my enrollment discount when I moved to Florida.  The page you posted does not suggest that the discount is state specific.  Do you know anything about that?  

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Periodic Contributor

I had a similar experience when I moved from Virginia to Missouri. My premium increased significantly and all I was told by UnitedHealthcare was that there was no discount in Missouri. AARP has never explained this - I can not even find any documentation. I moved to reduce my general living costs and have ended up now spending more money!

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hopefully someone can help here:  going into my 3rd year with an AARP/UHC plan "F".  Yesterday, I received my letter relative to rate information for 2020.  Included were 2 increases in premium: One is effective January 1, and the second is effective April 1, (birthday month).  Can anyone help me understand this - before I starrt making the necessary phone calls tomorrow? 

Thanks

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I would assume that one is the loss of the discount rate and the other is an increase due to inflation and/or other factors. The April increase should be the change in the discount rate.
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The table below demonstrates my understanding of how the unwinding of the 36% discount works for a typical 65 year old male living in Virginia.  For year 1, a 36% discount is applied to the Plan G base price of $177.75 per month.  The actual monthly premium is therefore $113.76.  For a number of possible reasons (e.g., inflation, etc.) assume Plan G's base price goes up by 4.78% in year 2 to $186.25.  Also in year 2, the discount is reduced by 3 percentage points from 36% to 33%.  As a result, the Plan G actual premium for year 2 is calculated by applying the reduced 33% discount to the higher $186.25 base premium, which comes to $124.79 per month.  So, bottom line, the actual monthly Plan G premium increases by 9.69%, from $113.76 in year 1 to $124.79 in year 2.  This approach is repeated every year until the original 36% discount is fully crawled back.  

Plan G price inc.png

 

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