Disabled patients in Florida covered by Medicare

September 27, 2013 

I am sorry that Judith Russett ("Florida denies Medicare supplement for disabled," Letters, Sept. 9) had difficulty in transferring her Medicare supplement plan to Florida; however, her facts are incorrect.

I have worked at a local clinic for 23 years and continue to assist disabled patients in getting insurance. On Oct. 1, 2009, a law was passed (after much lobbying in Tallahassee) that allowed Florida's disabled individuals under the age of 65 to purchase Medicare supplements. Up until that time, like many states, Medigap policies were only offered to those over age 65.

The 2009 law (Florida Statute 627.6741) does have some rules, however. It allows for two open enrollment periods only. The first is within six months of the effective date of Medicare Part B. (If the individual doesn't purchase within that time frame, they must wait until they are 65.)

The second open enrollment is 60 days from the time they lose another policy and can show "creditable coverage" (such as an employer group health plan or COBRA plan).

I have many disabled patients who move from another state and are able to transfer their Medicare supplement policies here without difficulty. The only problem I see with Medicare supplements for disabled people under 65 in Florida (and other states) is that most people cannot afford them while living on disability, as most policies can be $500-$600 a month as Ms. Russett states.

I am not sure when Ms. Russett moved here, what law she is referring to, where she obtained her information, or what insurance company she had her previous policy with, but I can assure you that it is not a "dirty little secret" nor is it discrimination ... as this topic has been talked about for years in Florida and that is why the 2009 law was passed.

Dawn K. Martin


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