Letter: Medicare Advantage Works for Maine Seniors

Originally published in Bangor Daily News

People will tell you that retirement is going to be the most relaxing time of your life, and while that may be true over time, the transition period between work and retirement isn’t always easy.

One of the biggest barriers to feeling stable in this new phase of my life was figuring out my health care coverage. After having been employed for 40 years, I had grown used to my employer providing insurance, and the idea of navigating the complicated insurance landscape on my own was not altogether inviting.

With an array of plans in front of me, I wanted to feel certain I was finding coverage that would not only provide me with the benefits and services I needed, but the plan would also be affordable, given my newly limited income.

After doing my research, there was only one plan that would provide me with the quality of care I wanted at a price I could afford — Medicare Advantage.

Medicare Advantage is a unique program, because the low-cost coverage doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice a single benefit. This helps seniors from all financial situations access high-quality care and provides peace of mind that patients will be able to cover the cost of any health needs.

In addition to low costs, Medicare Advantage has such high satisfaction rates because of the different benefits seniors like me can access. While some of us depend on in-home caregiver support or wellness programs, others might find the prescription drug coverage or integrated vision, dental and hearing benefits to be the most essential parts of their care.

With roughly 120,000 Maine seniors on Medicare Advantage plans, I have heard so many success stories from family and friends about the way this program allowed them to feel supported by their health care coverage.

Whether it be stories of saving thousands on out-of-pocket costs for necessary surgeries or being connected with services that help seniors to build healthy living habits, Medicare Advantage is making a much-needed difference in connecting senior Mainers with quality care.

I never thought I would be able to have such dependable care at a consistently low price. And the premiums for Medicare Advantage are expected to drop by about another 10 percent in 2022, which will hopefully mean even more seniors will sign up for the program and have the chance to enjoy the benefits and services 27 million seniors and individuals with disabilities across the country have accessed through Medicare Advantage.

With about 43 percent of Maine seniors enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans, it’s clear that this program is highly valuable to many members of our community. After meeting with Sen. Angus King’s office, we are so grateful to know that he sees the positive impact Medicare Advantage has had and that he continues to advocate for the program in Congress.

While rural Mainers may not always feel connected to the political conversations in Washington, knowing that Sen. King is a champion for our health and wellbeing gives us certainty that seniors can continue to rely on the coverage they receive through Medicare Advantage.

Tony Arruda is the founder of Senior Planning Center in Farmington.