In 2023, it’s estimated there will be over 10,000 new cases of breast cancer in North Carolina alone. Tar too many of us will experience cancer at some point in our lives, whether through their own diagnosis or a loved one’s. That’s why it’s pertinent we ensure that we are doing all we can to care for those undergoing or recovering from cancer and cancer treatments.
From personal experience, I know the fear and stress that come with those three words from the doctor: “you have cancer.” Luckily, that wave of anxiety was lessened because of my premier health care coverage through Medicare Advantage. I trusted the program to take care of me and provide the highest quality of care as I underwent treatments while keeping costs low.
Not only does a cancer diagnosis lead to fears about your health, but it also leads to financial stress. Throughout all my treatments for breast cancer – including dozens of doctors’ visits, surgery, and radiation — I only had to pay $1,800 out of pocket. The Medicare Advantage commitment to affordability for their enrollees provided me with high quality care along with peace of mind. I was able to spend my money on things that made my life and treatment better. Staying stress free is crucial to successful treatment and Medicare Advantage’s comprehensive coverage allowed me to focus on my healing, not on my wallet.
This experience taught me the importance of affordable, preventative care. Medicare Advantage puts an emphasis on preventative care for their over 30 million enrollees, meaning people catch breast cancer early, making all the difference in the success of their treatment.
Postponing health needs may only worsen conditions and heighten costs in the long run. That’s why Medicare Advantage is so valuable to its enrollees—seniors shouldn’t have to warily watch their health decline as they age without the tools to do anything about it.
With preventative measures ranging from cancer screenings to nutrition programming, Medicare Advantage equips enrollees with the ability to proactively stay healthy. This approach makes sense. Why would we wait for a costly health problem to strike if it’s better and cheaper to practice healthy habits from the start? For conditions like breast cancer, I heard over and over again from providers how early identification can mean the most for successful treatment. Medicare Advantage is giving their enrollees the best possible chance through regular screenings.
A preventative approach to care, partnered with Medicare Advantage’s commitment to affordability, is important to protect, and the Biden Administration must shield the program from any harmful cuts. It would be devastating to the community that needs health insurance the most if we rolled back a program that is supplying people affordable health coverage.
I am happy to announce that as of December I am totally cancer free. Medicare Advantage gave me life-saving care that allowed me to fully recover. I know not everyone is as lucky as I have been and that’s why I am now dedicated to sharing my own story of how Medicare Advantage provided affordable, preventative care in order to help others.
Judith Burks is a retired purchasing and sales agent. She is a recent breast cancer survivor who resides in Raleigh.
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