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Medicare Advantage causes concern

As a local physician who sees a lot of patients on Medicare, I am increasingly concerned with the situation regarding Medicare Advantage plans. I have many patients who have switched from their traditional Medicare with a supplement plan to an Advantage plan, simply because they saw a formerly famous actor or athlete on TV or had a phone call telling them they needed to change because it could save them money, it was better than what they had, etcetera.

This is unfortunately often not the case. The worst example is Humana. It has been heavily advertising in our region, including a flyer in The Durango Herald on Oct. 23. Humana has no private insurance in our region, and most providers in the region do not have a contract with Humana. I have been denied a contract with them despite numerous requests.

If a local senior switches to a Humana Advantage plan, he or she will most likely have a significantly higher out-of-pocket expense than advertised, which could cost thousands of dollars per year in out-of-network costs.

Please, call the San Juan Basin Area Agency on Aging and talk to a certified Medicare counselor. Do your own research as well, and make an informed decision about your Medicare. Medicare Advantage plans may not be right for you and have many disadvantages over traditional Medicare.

Robert Wallach