Thanks to state Sen. Andrea Dalessandro, D-Sahuarita, SB1287 (“Medicare supplement insurance; guaranteed availability”) has now been introduced at the state Legislature.

This bill would provide coverage protections for seniors on Medicare who have pre-existing health conditions. It would allow individuals who have a supplemental policy (Medigap) to change their Medigap policies for another without passing a health screening. Similarly, it would allow those with a Medicare Advantage Plan to move from that plan to a Medigap policy without regard to pre-existing health conditions. 

There are many reasons Medicare recipients may wish to change plans, including lowering costs, desiring better customer service, and, especially, gaining access to and coverage for specialized medical care.

Although Medicare is a federal program, individual states do have the latitude to legislate some aspects of the program. Several states have already passed legislation to protect Medicare recipients with pre-existing health conditions.

SB1287 has been assigned to the Rules and the Finance Committees where they must be heard and voted on to advance. Neither committee has placed this bill on an agenda as of yet. The week of Feb. 21 is the last week for a bill to be heard by a committee.

If you wish to support this bill, please contact Sen. J.D. Mesnard, chair of the Finance Committee, urging him to schedule a hearing for SB1287 (“Medicare supplement insurance; guaranteed availability”). His contact information is: phone, 602-926-4481; email, jmesnard@azleg.gov. Include the number and name of the bill along with your comments.

Arizona is a great place for retirement and we can help make it even more hospitable to seniors by passing this bill. 

Henne Queisser lives in Green Valley.