Editor, Daily Press:

There are about 60 million senior citizens on Medicare plans. Their Social Security benefit is reduced by $135 per month, or $1,625 per year, which amounts to annual Medicare plan payments of about $97.2 billion. Some who qualify for extra help through Medicaid programs do not have that $135 taken out of their Social Security Income.

If you have a Medicare plan, Advantage or Supplemental, instead of regular Medicare A and B, then the alternate Medicare plans get that monthly revenue. A plan enrollee may have to pay an additional premium for extra medical benefits. There is an annual enrollment in these plans that run from Oct. 15 to Dec. 5 of each year, where current enrollees and new enrollees can opt into a Medicare Advantage or Supplement Plan, or just stay with their traditional Medicare A and B Program with a federally mandated prescription drug plan.

The public is saturated with advertisements through all forms of communication to get people to contact their "licensed agents" to get their piece of that $97.2 billion-plus pie. Oklahoma has the Senior Health Insurance Counseling Program, where the staff is well-trained and well-qualified to help people determine their medical Insurance needs, and they work on a salary and do not receive any part of that Medicare pie. I would imagine that equivalent programs are available in most every state. There is, also, Medicare.gov that you can access by internet or by phone that is very good at showing plan programs and options for every region in the nation. Go there, first, then follow-up with the State Program Service for guidance.

Roger C. Redden


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