Commentary

Lawmakers should support and protect Medicare Advantage

Program offers seniors excellent care with minimal costs

A clinical doctor reviews test results with a patient at the hospital. (Tom Werner/Getty Images)

By Mike Cerbo

As the former head of the Colorado AFL-CIO and as a former state legislator, it has been my life’s mission to fight for good health care and benefits for the hardest working members of our workforce. And even in my retirement, I continue advocating for Colorado’s working class, including retirees. After years of dedication and honest work, retired union members deserve to have strong health benefits, which is why I am a major proponent for Medicare Advantage.

I, myself, have a Medicare Advantage plan. After I retired, I enrolled in the program when I was worried about maintaining health coverage. I was hoping Medicare Advantage would be similar to the coverage I received through my union, and I couldn’t be happier.

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Medicare Advantage works for seniors, adapting to our specific needs, and providing us with excellent care with minimal costs. For me, preventative care is critical to maintaining my health and staying active. Fortunately, I can take advantage of annual checkups and vision, hearing and dental coverage, staying on top of my health and identifying problems before they become worse.

Some plans even cover things like health and wellness programs and home delivery of essential supplies, like groceries and medication. No matter a senior’s focus, Medicare Advantage provides stable coverage, all at an affordable price.

Seniors 65 years and older are one of the groups with the highest risk of experiencing severe complications or serious illness from COVID-19. Luckily, Medicare Advantage has us covered — literally.

In the face of the pandemic, Medicare Advantage plans acted quickly to protect the most vulnerable Americans, making diagnostic COVID testing free and waiving costs to primary care and telehealth visits. These changes immediately made me feel confident in my health care, despite the global health crisis. They’re also now covering the cost of the vaccine, and continuing to keep seniors healthy.

I know firsthand that lawmakers want to support the senior community in Colorado. Protecting and strengthening the Medicare Advantage program is the way to do that. The program has strong bipartisan support. Just like unions work to ensure its members have the best, most robust coverage, so does Medicare Advantage. Our lawmakers in Congress must commit to protecting seniors by standing up for and supporting Medicare Advantage, a program that works for seniors.

Mike Cerbo is the former representative from Colorado’s 2nd House District, former chairman of the Democratic Party of Denver, and former head of the Colorado AFL-CIO.

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