CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — One of the most popular public health care plans in the nation, is facing potentially large cuts… or premium increases. This affects a lot of people in our region.

In his State of the Union Address President Biden implored Republicans and Democrats alike, not to make any cuts to Medicare. But now one of its supplemental programs may indeed face cuts.

Most Americans choose Medicare for their health benefits, once they reach the age of 65.
Medicare covers most doctor and hospital visits. But clients can also purchase what is known as Medicare Advantage, which covers dental, hearing, and vision care. Medicare Advantage is very popular, and in fact, almost half of seniors in our region, use it. But now the Biden administration.. while preserving basic medicare… could make service cuts and rate increases to Medicare Advantage.

“Our retirees enjoy having Medicare Advantage because it has everything wrapped into one. Our premiums are lower, our benefits are higher. And it would be a disaster to take that away from them,” said Bill Milam, of the West Virginia Association of Retired School Employees

“I’ve been on numerous letters trying to fight this. Along with many Democrats and Republicans saying Medicare Advantage is here. It is here to stay. And it’s a very high, high approval program by the users,” said Sen. Shelley Moore Capito.

“To decrease benefits in an important health care coverage program, as health care costs continue to go up, that’s just not sustainable. And it would be very harmful to the more than 31 million Americans today, who choose Medicare Advantage,” said Kristine Grow, with the Coalition for Medicare Choices.

This coming Monday, April 3rd, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services will make its recommendation on funding for Medicare Advantage. It could include possible premium increases, benefit cuts… or both. Congress does have the power to override the decision.

Advocates for Medicare Advantage are urging their supporters to contacts their members of Congress and voice their support for keeping the plan as is.