This paper examines the effects of state regulations on the quality of insurance policies sold to Medicare beneficiaries and on the amount of sales abuse reported in the sale of such policies. State regulations regarding such policies relate to policy content and format, minimum rates of return, sale of these policies related to disclosure requirements, consumer information activities, and penalties for agent and company abuse. This paper examines the impact of specific regulations on the ratio of the expected policy benefits per premium dollars and on the number and kind of abusive sales practices reported by purchasers and nonpurchasers in agent and mail sales. The study finds that loss ratio floors, minimum benefit standards, and the development by states of consumer information guides for prospective policyholders have a positive impact on the quality of the policies purchased. In addition, the study finds that the amount of abuse reported is less when insurance companies routinely issue press releases concerning agent or company misrepresentation and when consumer guides are developed and available from the state.

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