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Medicare Advantage Provides Quality Health Care and Keeps Costs Low for Coloradans | Opinion


Marie Valenzuela

Colorado is known for its natural scenery, crispy air, and outdoor activities. It’s a wonderful place to live, especially as a retiree.  

With so much to do and enjoy in our state, I try to prioritize my health and stay active. However, in the last few years, I’ve had numerous challenges come my way. Last year alone, I underwent two surgeries. While this was challenging, I am grateful I had superior healthcare coverage through Medicare Advantage, which provided me with top-notch care and kept costs low. In fact, between both of my surgeries, doctor’s visits, and recovery, I only had to pay $500 out of pocket.

Having accessible, robust traditional health benefits is necessary to treat health complications, and it brings people peace of mind that they will be able to treat and fight unforeseen health conditions, including diseases and illnesses. However, what I love most about my Medicare Advantage plan is that it allows me to be proactive with my health through preventative care and services. 

One of the ways the program does this is by keeping its enrollees active, one of the best single things you can do to continue living a fulfilled and happy life into an older age. Staying active has positive outcomes for heart and mental health, and it helps to prevent diseases. Keeping enrollees fit and flexible also prevents injury, which can be harmful to seniors’ health.

Preventative measures have proven to not only extend and improve quality of life but also give retired seniors the ability to spend their time, energy, and savings on the things that make them feel happiest. Things like cancer screenings, annual vaccinations, and wellness exams can help avoid serious health conditions and minimize the effectiveness of treatment plans.

I was incredibly grateful that after enrolling in Medicare Advantage, I found out that I was still covered by my same doctors and hospital. I’ve been seeing my doctor for years, and the ability to keep my providers makes me know I am receiving the best quality of care from the providers who are familiar with my health.

Another part of Medicare Advantage that is favorable for its enrollees is its coordinated care structure. People with disabilities or health conditions often have many providers treating different aspects of their health. This can include physical therapists, mental health providers, pulmonologists, and more. Although they all treat different aspects of a person’s health, it’s vital that they coordinate together so patients receive the best quality of care. Medicare Advantage manages all the necessary communication and care, so enrollees never have to worry if their doctor has the most updated information.

Medicare Advantage provides high-quality care to over 30 million older Americans and people with disabilities across the country, including nearly 475,000 Coloradans, including myself, and for that, I’m incredibly grateful. 

Marie Valenzuela is Vietnam-era Army veteran. She attended the University of Washington (BA 79, MSW 82) and CU Boulder (MA 89).  She retired from the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment after a 32-year career that encompassed program development, grant writing, legislative and policy analysis, and staff development and training. She received Vice President Al Gore’s National Performance Review “Hammer Award” for improving efficiency in government and served on the Governor’s Advisory Committee for Persons with Disabilities. She is a 29-year breast cancer survivor who believes in affordable, quality healthcare.