By Linnie Frank Bailey –
Henry Romero, President and Owner of Riverside-based HR Benefits Consulting says seniors from ethnic communities need to consider the diseases that plaque their families when deciding on Medicare options. As an example, he points to high hypertension rates in the African-American community, and the prevalence of diabetes among Hispanics. He cautions, “African-Americans have to look at the treatment costs for high-blood pressure which can lead to stroke, heart, and kidney disease. And Latino seniors really need to look at which option has the best coverage for the medicines required to treat diabetes and its complications.”
Romero says ethnic elders must look at their individual health situation before evaluating the pros and cons of employer- sponsored plans, traditional fee-for-service Medicare, Medicare Advantage, or Prescription Drug plans. Factors to consider include:
• What are the monthly premiums and co-pays, or upfront costs?
• What is the deductible?
• What treatments are included with the medical coverage?
• What are the costs for the drugs I might need?
• Which Doctors are in the network?
• Which hospitals accept the plan?
• What is the service area?
“Everyone’s situation is different,” says Romero. “You have to do your homework. You can’t simply go with the Medicare option your friend, family member, or neighbor goes with.” Linnie Frank Bailey wrote this article as part of the New America Media-administered California Wellness Foundation 2010 fellowship program on Health and Environmental Health for ethnic media journalists.
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