I spent eight years as the Executive Director of the Colorado AFL-CIO, where I constantly advised workers and their representatives on how to negotiate for quality health care. This gave me an understanding of our health care system, and then when I became the Chair of the Democratic Party of Denver, I gained even further knowledge of the American health care network.
These experiences spurred my continued interest in advocating for good health care programs and improving access to health care for every Coloradan. In particular, I have become a huge proponent of Medicare Advantage, a program that I am now enrolled in myself.
Medicare Advantage is a unique health care coverage option available to seniors and individuals with disabilities. Working as a public-private partnership that extends beyond the reaches of original Medicare, beneficiaries can access extensive benefits and services that address the wide range of needs associated with good health.
The program makes a point of addressing both preventative and reactive care benefits, assuring that patients are cared for in every step of the health and recovery process. For example, access to wellness programs has allowed Medicare Advantage beneficiaries to prioritize their health and build better lifestyle habits. By building better preventative care routines, seniors and individuals with disabilities are better able to avoid serious illness and injury. And should beneficiaries fall ill, Medicare Advantage works quickly to set patients up with the recovery services they might need, including in-home caregiver support, companion care, prescription medications and more.
The extensive benefits aren’t the only element of Medicare Advantage that makes it such a strong program. It also serves our community because it provides health care at an affordable cost, ensuring that all Coloradans can access high-quality care. In fact, in 2022, the average premium for Medicare Advantage dropped 10%, coming to just $19 per month. Coupled with a cap on out-of-pocket costs, Medicare Advantage makes it possible for seniors from every financial situation to afford top-quality care.
These reasons make it clear that Medicare Advantage is a great success for our health care system. And don’t just take it from me, but from the 28.2 million other individuals who are enrolled in the Medicare Advantage program. For a program that caters to such an array of health care needs, the 93% satisfaction rate is a testament to the program’s efforts to continue addressing the concerns of the program’s enrollees.
Among the many roles I have played in Colorado, I also had the chance to represent South and West Denver in the Colorado House of Representatives, which was when I really learned the importance of advocating for policies that improve the lives of our community members. That is why I know how important it is that our elected officials in Congress, including Senator Hickenlooper, Senator Bennet, and Representative Neguse, continue to advocate for this amazing program.
It’s only with the continued support of legislators across Colorado and the country that our friends and neighbors will be able to continue accessing the high-quality, affordable health care that Medicare Advantage provides.
Mike Cerbo is the former Executive Director of the Colorado AFL-CIO, Chair of the Denver Democratic Party, and former State Representative for Colorado House District 2.