Letter: Affordable Healthcare Vital For AZ Seniors Struggling With Inflation

September 11, 2023

Originally published in the Arizona Independent News Network and Arizona Free Press

Arizona seniors are being squeezed. Costs are going up for nearly everything we need – from the food we eat to the roof over our heads. That’s a huge problem for those of us living on a fixed income. Fortunately, our health care remains affordable thanks to a program relied upon by over 675,000 Arizona seniors and people with disabilities: Medicare Advantage. More than half of the program’s enrollees make less than $25,000/year. With average premiums of just $18 per month, Medicare Advantage is now one of the most affordable options on the market – even less costly than original Medicare.

My wife and I chose our Medicare Advantage plan because it has a low deductible and we can see our primary physician with no co-pay. Prescription medications are included, and our plan covers nearly every hospital in metro Phoenix. Medicare Advantage enrollees also have access to fitness programs, health screenings and other preventative care to help stay active and healthy. For patients in rural areas or without access to transportation, the program even provides rides to the doctor’s office and telehealth. With benefits like these, it’s no wonder more than 31 million Americans rely on Medicare Advantage.

That’s why it’s vital that Congress continue to support this important program. Arizona seniors are lucky to have U.S. Sens. Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema fighting for us. Earlier this year, Sens. Kelly and Sinema each joined a bipartisan group of senators in signing a letter of support for Medicare Advantage. My wife and I appreciate their efforts working across the aisle to protect seniors’ access to the affordable health care we need.

This will only become more important as Arizona’s senior population continues to grow. At a time when so many of our basic necessities are becoming more expensive, it’s nice having the peace of mind to know that our health care needs are covered.

Thank you, Senators Kelly and Sinema, for your leadership in protecting Medicare Advantage and the Arizonans who depend on this program. We’re lucky to have you watching out for us.

Jerry Long is an Arizona senior and Medicare Advantage enrollee. He lives in Phoenix.