Dear Dr. Rhee,
I signed on to the Extend Health website this morning to look at the medigap plan choices Extend Health offers in my zip code and I am extremely disappointed by the selection they are offering. It is very limited and the associated prices for the plans are significantly higher than those offered by other insurance companies in the Medicare open marketplace. For many reasons, not the least of which is the ability to go to any specialty clinic in the United States such as the City of Hope or Sloan Kettering, I must stay on Original Medicare.
I specifically looked at the Extend Health medigap F high deductible offering in my zip code and there is only one plan available. It is also the lowest priced medigap plan that Extend Health is offering in my zip code so it is the cheapest medigap plan I am able to buy. It is priced at $115.86/ month and is offered by Humana.
I can get EXACTLY THE SAME insurance policy (as you know by law they must be the same) from THREE other insurance companies who sell medigap insurance in my zip code for as much as HALF that premium price if I were able to buy it in the open market. This is really onerous as you have made it a requirement that I MUST BUY A MEDICAL plan through Extend Health to be able to access my subsidy. I will now be forced to spend substantially more of my subsidy on premiums to get medigap coverage. WHY IS THAT A REQUIREMENT?
I thought you said we would be offered BETTER choices through Extend Health and you were doing this transition to help us contain our insurance costs. Given what I have seen so far what you are saying is not true as Extend Health is restricting our options because of your requirement to use their offerings.
Please reconsider how you have structured this transition and REMOVE the requirement that we MUST purchase a medical plan from Extend Health to be able to use our subsidy money. It is an unnecessary restriction that will cause many retirees to pay MORE to get the EXACT same coverage as can be purchased in the Medicare open market and thereby puts an unnecessary additional burden on retirees already reeling from this dramatic shift to Extend Health.