Letter – Avoid Medicare observation trap

Published 5:03 pm Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Editor, The Smithfield Times:

In a recent editorial, “Beware Medicare Observation Trap,” Terry Savage (The Savage Truth) sheds light on the challenges faced by Medicare recipients. While Medicare plays a critical role in providing health care to millions of citizens across the country, choosing your benefits can be extremely confusing.

Ms. Savage astutely highlights the importance of avoiding the “observation trap” when selecting Medicare coverage. However, it is equally important to explore the other opportunities that Medicare offers.

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When enrolling for Medicare benefits, numerous questions arise. Do all Medicare companies provide the same benefits? When do I qualify for Medicare? Should I consider a supplement? What expenses should I be aware of?

Another pressing concern is the vast array of insurance companies advertising Medicare coverage on television. How can you determine the best company for your specific situation? Additionally, how can individuals protect themselves from falling victim to Medicare scams?

So, where can older adults turn for assistance when selecting their Medicare benefits? In this regard, Senior Services of Southeastern Virginia, a part of Virginia’s State Health Insurance Program (SHIP), provides valuable support through free Medicare benefits counseling, delivered by trained professionals. This program is specifically designed to help older adults 60 and above make informed decisions and maximize the benefits they have worked so hard to earn.

Being a part of the State Health Insurance Program means that Senior Services of Southeastern Virginia has access to comprehensive and up-to-date information on Medicare policies, regulations and available benefits. The trained professionals at Senior Services are well-versed in the intricacies of Medicare and can provide personalized guidance based on individual circumstances. Importantly, Senior Services is not a Medicare provider, so the counseling is truly unbiased, and there is no charge for receiving the counseling.

By utilizing these benefits counseling services, Medicare recipients can gain a clear understanding of their options, ensuring they make the most appropriate choices for their health care needs.

Terry Savage’s cautionary message regarding the observation trap reminds us of the importance of fully understanding the benefits that Medicare provides. By seeking assistance from organizations like Senior Services of Southeastern Virginia, older adults can more easily navigate the complexities of Medicare and ensure they receive the support they need to lead healthy, active lives.


Steve Zollos


Senior Services of Southeastern Virginia