NAIC News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MEDIGAP MODERNIZATIONS ALSO ENSURE GENETIC NONDISCRIMINATION

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. (Sept. 24, 2008)The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) today adopted changes to Medicare supplement (Medigap) insurance that will modernize Medigap plans and implement a federal law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of genetic information. This is the first major update to the standardized Medigap plans since they were first created in 1990.

“Many insurance consumers fear they will be victims of discrimination if their doctor conducts genetic tests or they participate in genetic research,” said NAIC President and Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger. “Clearly, this plays a significant role in a person's decisions about whether to take a genetic test and whether to pay out-of-pocket vs. seeking insurance reimbursement.”

The new changes to the NAIC “Model Regulation to Implement the NAIC Medicare Supplement Insurance Minimum Standards Model Act” implement the recently enacted federal Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA). This law prohibits insurers from using genetic information when making coverage decisions or setting premiums.

The new NAIC provisions prohibit companies from denying, conditioning or discriminating in the pricing of Medigap policies on the basis of an individual’s genetic information. Companies are also prohibited from requesting, requiring or purchasing genetic information for underwriting or enrollment purposes.

The NAIC’s Medigap modernizations also eliminate four unnecessary, duplicative plans and create two new plan options. New plan options provide lower premium options for seniors willing to purchase a plan with modest cost-sharing requirements. A new hospice benefit was added to all plans, and benefits that provided no real value were eliminated.

The states have until July 1, 2009, to adopt the genetic nondiscrimination provisions. The new Medigap benefits and plans will be available beginning June 1, 2010.

About the NAIC

Formed in 1871, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) is a voluntary organization of the chief insurance regulatory officials of the 50 states, the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories. The NAIC has three offices: Executive Office, Washington, D.C.; Central Office, Kansas City, Mo.; and Securities Valuation Office, New York City.

The NAIC serves the needs of consumers and the industry, with an overriding objective of supporting state insurance regulators as they protect consumers and maintain the financial stability of the insurance marketplace. For more information, visit www.naic.org.

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