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June 2012
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Lawmakers should prevent further cuts in Medicare reimbursements



My husband and I have had a Medicare Advantage plan through Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield since retiring in 2003. Unfortunately, the premium has doubled in price, and this may have something to do with the billions of dollars that have been slashed since the passage of health care legislation in 2010. Further cuts might force us to switch to traditional Medicare, which might be a detriment since the out-of-pocket costs can be so much higher. That is exactly why so many millions of senior citizens opt for Medicare Advantage plans to begin with.

My hope is that our congressional delegation will help prevent further funding reductions to this crucial health program that so many older Kentuckians need.

Currently, Walmart is the only preferred pharmacy in my area. I don't know what I would do if they dropped Anthem because our prescription deductible would be $500 elsewhere. Also, my generic drug copays have increased by 50 percent to $18. This is not good for people on fixed incomes, but it is still better than traditional Medicare.

Fortunately, both of us are reasonably healthy for our age and can stay with our doctors this year. We would not want to try to find another doctor and hospital, which would likely entail much longer drives, but that could happen if Anthem lowers reimbursements to health care providers due to reduced federal funding.

It is imperative that our members of Congress do whatever they can to protect older people in Kentucky and throughout the country from further health care cost increases or reductions in service. They must stand up in opposition to any suggested funding cuts to Medicare Advantage in the coming months. Better still, Congress should look for ways to increase funding for this vital program since it has already been hit hard with cuts.



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