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What Medicare Means to Me

Nearly a million Massachusetts residents rely on Medicare. They pay an average of $5,500 annually for medical expenses, out of their own pockets. And, that number is rising every year. As we fight to protect Medicare and Social Security from harmful cuts as part of a deal to pay the nation’s debt, thousands of Bay State members have shared their thoughts on what Medicare means to them. Here are just a few of their stories:

  • Self-employed: “My wife and I are self-employed. We own a small diner. Before we became eligible for Medicare, our health insurance premium was $2000 a month. Reaching age 65 was a godsend, and enabled us to continue our business to this day, our 32nd year.” – Richard Carrigan, North Adams
  • Raising grandchildren: “I am recently retired and a very new recipient of Medicare. My husband and I are raising three grandchildren, and we are both on fixed incomes. Please don’t let our government cut Medicare and Social Security. They need to cut wasteful spending instead.”– Cheryl Dineen, Carver
  • Looking ahead: “I work full time and have private medical coverage. But the possibility of losing Medicare makes the thought of retirement impossible and frightening… a time when a job loss would be a death sentence – because a lifetime of savings could be wiped out by a single major illness.”– Paul Jones, Melrose.
  • Staying healthy: “Medicare means that I can take care of my health and prevent little problems from becoming life changing. I’ve recently had some issues around back pain. Thanks to Medicare, I was able to visit my physician, and obtain needed x-rays and treatment. Had I been forced to rely on my own resources, I’d have been immobile and looking for a nursing home bed before the end of this year.” – Christi Hill, North Adams

Why is Medicare at risk?

As Congress looks for ways to reduce the nation’s budget deficit, some proposals include harmful cuts to Medicare. Meanwhile, the latest Medicare trustees' report predicts that the hospital insurance trust fund, i.e., the place where workers' Medicare payroll taxes are saved, will start to run out of money in 2024. Compounding the issue, retiring Boomers are expected to double the number of Medicare enrollees.

Where does AARP stand?

AARP strongly urges the President and congressional leaders to reject any proposals that would impose arbitrary, harmful cuts to the Medicare program or shift additional costs onto Medicare beneficiaries. Half of all beneficiaries live on incomes of less than $22,000, and many already struggle to pay for their ever-rising health and prescription drug costs.

Some proposals currently under consideration would require Medicare beneficiaries to pay even more for their Medicare benefits, either through higher co-payments or higher premiums. Instead of shifting additional cost burdens onto beneficiaries, Congress should address the real problem of skyrocketing health care costs throughout the entire system.

Join the Fight

It’s time to tell our nation’s leaders: don’t jeopardize the retirement security of seniors and future generations. Send an email or call 1-888-722-8514 to connect with your Member of Congress: tell them to protect Medicare and Social Security.

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What does Medicare mean to you? Tell us what you think.

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