A page from the 2019 U.S. Medicare Handbook is photographed Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018, in Washington. Credit: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Photo

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Medical care and procedures may often be stressful, particularly when unexpected. For many Mainers, who often live on limited or fixed incomes, this is particularly true. Many fear the thought of forgoing needed services at a time when needed most due to cost.

For more than 120,000 Maine seniors, we are fortunate to be enrolled in Medicare Advantage programs. Medicare Advantage is the only program connecting seniors with the needed benefits while keeping prices manageable. In fact, Medicare Advantage premiums are set to decrease 10 percent for 2022. This means seniors will pay, on average, $19 per month.

Even with the low cost, Medicare Advantage members are not forced to give up any of the benefits we need. Medicare Advantage beneficiaries have access to all of the benefits of original Medicare with the addition of in-home care support, grocery planning and delivery, wellness programs, integrated vision, dental and hearing benefits and more.

With all of the benefits of the Medicare Advantage plans, I encourage Sen. Angus King and Rep. Jared Golden as well as the entire Maine congressional delegation to continue their efforts to advocate for the senior community by protecting Medicare Advantage. Funding cuts would inevitably lead to rate increases or possible loss of currently available services. Rate increases also may make Medicare Advantage plans unaffordable to the millions nationwide who depend on them.

Gary Tormollan