Department of Insurance 2021 Data Shows over $21M in Consumer Savings

Successes in serving residents continue

The Delaware Department of Insurance (DOI) today published performance and productivity data for 2021. While the pandemic necessitated continued operational adjustments, staff continued to focus efforts on consumer services and saw great success. The department also released an infographic of key statistics.

“Year after year, our DOI team delivers for Delaware. In the face of many changes and challenges due to COVID-19, we continued to prioritize consumer services, and never wavered from that commitment,” said Insurance Commissioner Trinidad Navarro. “This year in review provides just a glimpse into the incredibly vast and diverse array of work our team takes on, and I look forward to continuing to make a difference every day in 2022.”

Despite minimal in-person events, services directed to individual consumers and local businesses continued to thrive in 2021. The Delaware Medicare Assistance Bureau (DMAB) held more than 5,500 free one-on-one counseling sessions with residents, ultimately saving beneficiaries a combined $521,000 – an increase of more than $230,000 compared to 2020 savings. The Consumer Services Division managed over 3,000 complaints and inquiries, recovering nearly $700,000 for consumers. In the Legal Division, 274 settled arbitration cases resulted in awards totaling more than $640,000. These services, combined with $12.3 million in ACA plan refunds and $7.4 million in workplace safety savings, amount to over $21.5 million for Delaware’s insurance consumers in 2021.

A critical focus of the department during COVID-19 continues to be ensuring health insurer compliance with state and federal rules, coverage requirements, and initiatives to reduce burdens on hospitals and those seeking care. The Market Conduct team continued investigations into insurer’s Mental Health Parity compliance, resulting in $635,000 in fines. Throughout the ACA Special Enrollment Period, more than 21,000 residents took advantage of increased subsidies and savings from the American Rescue Plan, saving an average of 53% on their monthly premiums – a savings of $1.2 million in total. To protect consumers and create a nationwide network of strong regulation, Commissioner Navarro successfully worked to create the National Improper Marketing of Health Plans Working Group within the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

Nationally, Commissioner Navarro and the department remain engaged in numerous industry organizations. The Commissioner was recently named Vice-Chair of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ Market Regulation and Consumer Affairs (D) Committee, a prestigious honor, in addition to being elected to the Executive Committee of the Northeast Zone and continuing to serve as Chair of the National Anti-Fraud Task Force. Delaware continues to participate in the Special Committee on Race and Insurance, the Healthcare Fraud Prevention Partnership, the National Insurance Crime Bureau Medical Task Force, the Delaware Valley Association of International Special Investigative Units, and other committees and groups.

In 2021, the General Assembly utilized virtual procedures for session. DOI pursued 14 pieces of legislation with our partners in Legislative Hall and engaged with more than 30 insurance-related bills, including legislation to regulate the multi-billion-dollar Pharmacy Benefit Manager industry, protecting consumers of auto and homeowner’s insurance, and making progress on issues like health care access and pharmaceutical costs. The DOI also continued to work on other legislative mandates, such as the Office of Value-Based Health Care Delivery.

In Market Conduct, 16 completed insurer examinations resulted in $1.2 million in fines, and several examinations are in progress. More than 50,000 licenses were issued, and licenses total more than 200,000. Across all lines of insurance, more than 30,000 rates and forms were processed and approved.

The Bureau of Examination, Rehabilitation and Guaranty oversees the financials of 136 domestic companies that manage $680.6 billion, and more than 2,000 other companies operating in the state. They completed 62 financial examinations, and have 49 exams in progress, in addition to completing nearly 3,500 other projects including Uniform Certificate of Authority Application amendments and Security Exchange Requests.

The Fraud Bureau worked to investigate many tips and reports, and 5 criminal cases of insurance fraud were indicted in addition to the collection of nearly $9,500 in civil penalties.

Going into 2022, businesses will see the fifth consecutive decrease in Workers’ Compensation premiums, an average reduction of more than 20%. The Workplace Safety team engaged more than 1,200 companies in earning additional savings in 2021.

The Captive Division, named a finalist for International Captive Domicile of the Year, received 70 new applications and has 759 licenses in effect.

View the 2021 Infographic


Medicare Assistance Bureau Innovates to Serve Residents During COVID-19

More ways to receive Medicare counseling and information as Open Enrollment approaches, Bureau earns federal grants to support efforts

When COVID-19 required cancellation of the Department of Insurance Delaware Medicare Assistance Bureau series of statewide Welcome to Medicare in-person events, the team responded rapidly, engaging with residents in new ways and offering their free, one-on-one Medicare counseling remotely. The Delaware Medicare Assistance Bureau (DMAB) has provided more than 2,930 counseling sessions so far this year, saving beneficiaries more than $192,000 in premiums through application assistance.

“We are all facing new challenges due to COVID-19, and I’m proud that our DMAB team has found ways to communicate with Medicare beneficiaries and made Medicare education and empowerment more accessible despite the inability to offer in-person events,” said Insurance Commissioner Trinidad Navarro.

DMAB will engage in thousands of counseling sessions in the coming months, as Medicare Open Enrollment takes place October 15 through December 7. During this time, beneficiaries can make changes to their health insurance coverage and review existing coverage against other options. DMAB will offer virtual Open Enrollment appointments throughout this period, available via Webex, Duo, and Skype, as well as by phone. Residents are encouraged to register for a MyMedicare.gov account prior to their counseling session so that DMAB can generate personalized plan comparisons.

“Many people have questions about Medicare and don’t know where to start, and COVID-19 has only increased the stress of choosing the right healthcare plans. We are here to help people in Delaware deal with the complex and often confusing health insurance system,” said DMAB Director Lakia Turner, “and, we’re more accessible than ever through our new virtual programs.”

DMAB began to offer virtual Welcome to Medicare seminars in May, engaging 150 residents. The Virtual Medicare Seminar, which is now available on-demand online, educates participants on topics including Medicare benefits, supplemental insurance policies, Medicare Advantage plans, prescription drug coverage and details on signing up.

As Medicare Open Enrollment approaches, the department reminds residents to assess any contact during the open enrollment period to ensure it is from a known, credible source. The most frequent fraudulent contact occurs by phone, but residents should review communications carefully.

“If you are receiving contact regarding Medicare that you did not initiate, or contact not from one of your healthcare providers, it could be fraudulent,” said Commissioner Navarro. “Protect your Medicare Number like you do your Social Security number or bank account information, and never give it out to unknown or unexpected callers.”

DMAB has been awarded two significant grants during 2020. The 2020 State Health Insurance Assistance Program Base Grant provides $234,293 in federal funds to DMAB. This is a five-year grant, with annually awards in April. It is a primary source of funding for marketing and outreach, counseling, developing and training the volunteer network, and other strategic efforts. The MIPPA 2020 Grant awarded the bureau $43,270, which has and will assist the bureau’s outreach, education, and one-on-one beneficiary assistance programs over the next year for those beneficiaries who are likely to be eligible for the Low-Income Subsidy program (also called “Extra Help”) or Medicare Savings Programs.

The Delaware Medicare Assistance Bureau provides free one-on-one health insurance counseling for people eligible for Medicare. Residents can call DMAB at 1-(800) 336-9500 or (302) 674-7364 to set up a free confidential session. Counselors can assist with Medicare, Medicaid, Medigap (Medicare supplement insurance), long term care insurance, billing issues, prescription savings, and much more.


Delaware Medicare Assistance Bureau to Hold Public Meetings

Newly Medicare-eligible residents encouraged to attend Welcome to Medicare: 2020

The Delaware Medicare Assistance Bureau (DMAB), a division of the Department of Insurance, has announced a series of Welcome to Medicare: 2020 events taking place throughout the year. More than a dozen public learning sessions will take place across the state. Participants will learn about various parts of Medicare and their benefits, supplemental insurance policies, Medicare Advantage plans, Medicare prescription drug coverage, and details on signing up.

“Bringing information about Medicare to residents in convenient locations throughout the state helps us to increase understanding of the complex healthcare system and encourage the community to reach out to our team for assistance when needed,” said Insurance Commissioner Trinidad Navarro.

Upcoming events include:

  • Wednesday, March 4 at 10:00AM, Delaware Department of Insurance, 1351 W. North Street, Dover*
  • Wednesday, March 11 at 10:30AM, Bear Library, 101 Governors Place, Bear*
  • Wednesday, March 18 at 10:00AM, Rockland Place, 1519 Rockland Road, Wilmington*
  • Thursday, March 26 at 10:00AM, CHEER Community Center, 20520 Sandhill Road, Georgetown

*Commissioner Navarro will attend.
Residents who plan to attend are encouraged to RSVP by calling DMAB at (302) 674-7364 or via Eventbrite. Press should RSVP to Christina.Haas@delaware.gov.

Additional events are slated to take place throughout the year and can be found on the DMAB calendar. Details of future events may be subject to change.

“These seminars are geared towards new and soon-to-be Medicare beneficiaries who can meet with our professional staff and ask questions,” said Lakia Turner, DMAB Director. DMAB encourages residents turning 65 this year and those newly eligible for Medicare due to a disability to attend one of the Welcome to Medicare: 2020 sessions. You do not have to be retired or without health insurance to apply for Medicare.

While the annual open enrollment for Medicare takes place October 15 to December 7, residents are eligible to enroll up to three months before the month a person turns 65 and up to three months after their birth month. Applying early helps residents to avoid possible financial penalties, avoid gaps in coverage, and reduce wait time for response from Medicare and DMAB, which experience very high volumes of contact during annual open enrollment.

The Delaware Medicare Assistance Bureau provides free one-on-one health insurance counseling for people eligible for Medicare. Residents can call DMAB at 1(800) 336-7364 or (302) 674-7364 to set up a free confidential counseling session with a trained volunteer at a convenient site throughout the state.

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