Michigan: Blue Cross plans Medigap rate hikes on seniors

OK, regular readers know that I almost never write directly about Medicare-related issues (unless it's in relation to trying to figure out the total uninsured rate and so forth), and I've only even mentioned Medigap before 3 times in the history of this website. I honestly don't know much about the program except that it's basically supplemental insurance which covers treatment/services not already covered by Medicare.

However, this seems like a significant development for my home state:

Seniors can expect to pay an additional $48 to $177 per month on BCBS Medigap plans.

Nearly 200,000 seniors can expect to pay more for their Medigap supplemental health insurance plans next year -- for some older individuals, more than twice their current amount -- when Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan goes forward with a long-awaited rate increase that does away with what the insurer says are below-market rates.

Blue Cross today proposed the new Medigap rates that would take effect on Jan. 1, following a five-year rate freeze for its Legacy Medigap plan.

The new rates would -- for the first time -- take into account a person's age, gender and geographic location. This change will result in men and older seniors paying more than women and younger seniors.

For seniors in the popular Legacy Medigap Plan C, the size of the proposed increases range from a low of about $48 additional per month for a 65-year-old woman in southeast Michigan (a total $170 per month, not including potential subsidy), to a high of $177 additional per month for an 80-year-old man (a total $300 per month, not including potential subsidy).

...The proposed increases reflect the end of a direct Medigap subsidy program that dated to 1980 and was set to end once Blue Cross transitioned to be come a nonprofit mutual insurer in 2014.

Again, I don't pretend to understand the ramifications of this change, but I'm sure they'll find some way to blame the Affordable Care Act for it whether it's deserved or not.