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Opinion >  Letters

Advantage’s upside omitted

The Spokesman-Review

The article regarding Medicare Advantage plans only shows the negative (“Patients find disadvantage to private Medicare,” Aug. 30).

Plans that require referrals are only one type of plan offered. Managed care or HMO plans control costs by limiting care and requiring referrals. Wellcare and other carriers also have other Advantage plans that do not require referrals.

For many Medicare beneficiaries, the Advantage plans have offered additional coverage at reasonable premiums, such as prescription drug, vision, hearing, dental and fitness memberships. There are also only a few Medicare supplement plans available to beneficiaries under 65. They are limited in benefits and cost about $200 per month. These plans do not include prescription drug benefits. This option could cost over $300 per month. If you do not have a supplement or Medigap policy, you will be required to pay 20 percent of your allowed charges. There is no cap on this amount, so beneficiaries can be responsible for thousands of dollars in services.

Advantage plans may not be best for everyone, but a lot of people benefit from them. I encourage you to publish some stories from beneficiaries who have benefited from their Medicare Advantage plan. There are two sides to every story.

Julie Shepard



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