The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

April 7, 2014

Our Readers Speak — Monday, April 7, 2014

Medicare Advantage needs full funding

Medicare Advantage took a $200 billion hit when the Affordable Care Act was passed, and over 14 million Americans could be affected by further funding cuts to this program.

Humana is my Medicare Advantage plan, and I rely on it for affordable, quality health care. Humana helps me to pay for insulin where other insurance agencies denied my coverage.

At the age of 76, I’ve had two hips replaced, open heart surgery and gall bladder surgery. Humana helped pay for all of this, and I had to make only a small co-payment. Without this coverage, I would be financially devastated. I don’t know that I would have been able to even have the procedures done.

For the last few years, I’ve had to pay a premium for my Humana coverage. It increased last year as it has for many Advantage plan participants due to the funding cuts.

For now, I am grateful to keep the coverage, at least. I worry that further cuts to Medicare Advantage will make my premium or co-pays unaffordable, though. I live on Social Security, and it can be a struggle to afford my medications.

Right now, I live very carefully with a strict diet, and I work hard so that I require only a small amount of insulin daily. With the help of Medicare Advantage, I can afford to take proper care of myself and remain independent. Moving forward, I sincerely hope Congress considers seniors like myself and fully funds the Medicare Advantage program.

Ruth Gilliam

Oak Hill