Greater than than 70 p.c of Washington’s senior inhabitants is totally vaccinated in opposition to COVID-19, and over 75 p.c has obtained one dose of the vaccine—a historic milestone in our combat in opposition to this virus.
Lastly, seniors throughout Washington and the nation have gotten vaccinated and regaining some sense of normalcy and security after a 12 months of devastation and uncertainty.
Like almost each senior nationwide, we had been remoted, unable to see family and friends and dwell our lives to the fullest, fearing for our well being and wellbeing.
However as we mirror, we really feel so lucky to have stayed wholesome and related. And that might not have been attainable with out Medicare Benefit.
Each of us obtain our medical insurance by means of Medicare Benefit, a public-private partnership that gives folks 65 and older and people affected by disabilities with complete medical protection.
After retirement, there was no query that we wished to grow to be beneficiaries as a result of it most carefully matched the versatile protection that we obtained by means of our employers. However we by no means may have imagined the advantages throughout a pandemic.
During the last 12 months, Medicare Benefit has prioritized the well being of seniors, making obligatory modifications to not simply preserve us secure from the virus, however to encourage preventative and routine care.
Most notably, the plan shifted to cowl digital physician and telehealth appointments. Whereas seemingly a easy change, all through COVID-19, this was crucial.
It allowed us to soundly keep our well being with common checkups and specialist visits from the consolation of our houses. And it saved seniors out of physician’s places of work and hospitals, which not simply helped to decrease our threat of publicity but in addition lessened stress on our overwhelmed healthcare system.
Medicare Benefit additionally carried out measures to make sure seniors and different susceptible communities had been receiving sturdy care related to the virus, together with eliminating cost-sharing for diagnostic COVID-19 testing and coverings, and even increasing to supply psychological well being providers.
Understanding that COVID-19 remedies can be lined ought to we contract the virus and accessing psychological healthcare choices after months of isolation have offered us with an excessive amount of consolation.
Even earlier than the pandemic struck, Medicare Benefit saved well being providers inexpensive by capping out-of-pocket prices, offering transparency about prices, and providing prescription drug advantages.
And it gave us unimaginable choices, permitting us to proceed seeing our doctor and providing built-in imaginative and prescient, dental, listening to, and wellness applications. With all of those advantages, it’s no shock that 94 p.c of beneficiaries are glad with their plans.
Supporting and bolstering Medicare Benefit ought to be a bipartisan concern. Over 26 million Individuals, together with a whole bunch of 1000’s proper right here in Washington, rely on this protection. And proper now, Congress has the chance to strengthen it and make telehealth extra accessible to susceptible populations years into the longer term.
On behalf of all seniors benefitting from Medicare Benefit, we hope our Washington delegation will help laws in Congress that might proceed to permit that seniors who communicate to their medical doctors, and different medical professionals, over the cellphone will nonetheless have the ability to take action.
Many seniors don’t have entry to broadband web, smartphones/computer systems or simply don’t really feel comfy utilizing video know-how, and it’s vital that they nonetheless can entry care.
COVID-19 put our nation and our seniors by means of a really tough and unsightly time. Nevertheless, the modifications Medicare Benefit made to modernize and enhance healthcare for seniors has been useful.
And to maintain seniors safer and more healthy, even after COVID-19 is not a menace, we hope these modifications are right here to remain.
Larry and Vicki Littell are residents of Bonney Lake.