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Paulecker and any other Medicare eligible folks. These decisions are indeed somewhat of a roll of the dice. My partner and I have both had cancer that ended up requiring more complicated treatment than available in our local community. My partner had to go initially to the university hospital in Portland (about a hundred miles away) and then ultimately to Stanford Medical Center. She still has to have yearly checkups at Stanford. Medicare Advantage plans would not have paid for any of those consultations or at the very least it would have been a protracted battle.

Fortunately we went with more expensive plan G or F choices. That decision I am convinced saved my partners life. Not only did she get surgery and ongoing care from a specialist at Stanford, she was able to go to U of Washington Proton Therapy Center for special radiation treatment, one of the only facilities on the West coast with that technology. When you have to go in for radiation treatment for a brain related tumor, do you want the local option or the best available technology?

There's no free lunch. The way the advantage plans offer more and charge less is by choking off access to expensive treatments. If you believe you'll never need an out of area specialist, I truly hope you're right.

I have had two close friends who had months long battles to get out of area referrals for specialist cancer treatment. Both eventually prevailed, however for one of them it was too late as he passed away this last Summer.

Sorry to be "David Downer", just realize there is a cost to those free Medicare plans.

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