Letter: Medicare Advantage plans facilitate sustainable, affordable health care

Originally published in Penn Live

We’ve successfully completed another year for Medicare Open Enrollment, and as an Independent Insurance Agent, I am reminded of how important Medicare Advantage programs are to the Medicare population in Central Pennsylvania as well as throughout the U.S.

These plans deliver high quality, affordable coverage for millions of low income and minority beneficiaries. This program also delivers comprehensive coverage through integrated prescription drug coverage, vision services, hearing benefits, dental services, wellness programs, in-home caregiver support, and telehealth options.

Nationwide, Medicare Advantage plans are providing peace of mind and delivering support to their communities ensuring vulnerable populations stay safe and health, particularly during the COVID-19 crisis. Some of the decisive actions taken by Medicare Advantage plans include areas such as: the elimination of patient cost-sharing for COVID-19 diagnostic testing, waiving patient cost sharing for COVID-19 treatment and vaccination and waiving costs and increasing access to telehealth services and offering expended benefits, such as mental health benefits and senior companionship opportunities.

Medicare Advantage plans have consistently provided low-cost, high-quality health care options along with additional supplemental care benefits and a cap on out-of-pocket costs, unlike original Medicare. This facilitates sustainable, affordable health care for the entire Medicare eligible population. For these reasons, any proposed budgetary cuts from Congress are especially daunting.

Should funding cuts occur, the affordability of Medicare Advantage could come into question and make a secure and affordable health care option less favorable. We need Congress to continue advocating for this program and, show a commitment to senior health.

Stewart Brouse, Mechanicsburg, Pa.