A recent roundtable with U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis focused on the value of Medicare Advantage plans for Florida seniors who are able to access high-quality, comprehensive and preventative care that improves health care outcomes and lowers out-of-pocket health care costs.
A diverse group of community leaders, health care professionals and Medicare Advantage beneficiaries were brought together by Better Medicare Alliance at the July 25 event.
Members of the group discussed their professional and personal experiences with Medicare Advantage. They also highlighted the health care challenges Florida seniors face and thanked Bilirakis for his continued support of the program, which provides coverage to more than 2.5 million Floridians.
Stakeholders including Ken Wicker, CEO of HCA Florida Oak Hill Hospital, Katie Stacy, Director of Communications and Community Engagement at HCA Florida Oak Hill Hospital, Beth Aker, Executive Director of Meals on Wheels of Pasco County, and Katina Mustipher, Chief Operating Officer at Elder Options, discussed how important Medicare Advantage is for seniors and under-resourced communities.
A longtime supporter of Medicare Advantage, Bilirakis joined 408 bipartisan colleagues in the House and Senate on a letter to the Biden administration supporting Medicare Advantage, setting a new record for Medicare Advantage support in Congress.
During the event, the CD 12 Republican noted his strong support for Medicare Advantage and said, “Medicare Advantage is an outstanding program and I’ve always been very supportive of it and seniors are very satisfied with it … I am very sensitive to the needs of seniors, and I think we have something really good here and I don’t want to lose it for our seniors.”
Musipher discussed how Florida seniors have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“One of things we’re finding, particularly with our meals program, is that during the pandemic we reached out and we found a lot of seniors who needed services and who were maybe living on the edge. Now, they’ve gotten the services, they’ve seen the benefits and the roles we play, but now we are concerned about being able to sustain these roles — especially the nutrition part,” she said.
Bilirakis later added, “We can build on all the success we’ve had with Medicare Advantage.”