Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

April 11, 2014

Medicare program vital to seniors


Bluefield Daily Telegraph

— — Millions of America’s senior citizens depend on Medicare Advantage for health care coverage, myself included. That’s why we need Congress to help protect the program from any additional funding reductions.

I chose a Humana Gold Choice plan through the Advantage program because there’s a minuscule co-pay for prescriptions, and it offers dental and vision coverage to boot. Like most retired people, I’m on a fixed  budget, so I can only absorb so much in terms of health care costs.

I’ve had my Humana Gold Choice plan for a number of years, and fortunately I haven’t seen any recent changes to my coverage. However, the results of funding cuts related to the Affordable Care Act are only now being experienced by other plan participants. Their out-of-pocket expenses are creeping up, doctors are dropping out of the program, and plans are shuttering their doors for good. Because I have diabetes, it’s particularly helpful that I get most of my medicine without paying anything, until it gets up to Tier  3 or 4, where it’s high dollar. I also use both the vision and dental benefits, and this vital coverage needs to remain in place.

All of us need to let Sen. Joe Manchin and the rest of Congress know that enough is enough. Moving forward, they must protect America’s seniors by quelling any talk of further reductions. Instead, legislators should be searching for ways to bolster funding for the Medicare Advantage program that helps so many.

Otie R. Pendleton

Bluefield