Op-ed | Bronx residents depend on services that Medicare Advantage provides


I have always said, “There is a big difference between being alive and having a life that is worth living.” I realized this back in 2019, when I suffered a stroke and lost all feeling in the left side of my body.

While this experience would have been frightening for anyone, it was particularly devastating to me as a lifelong musician. As someone who has played the bass guitar for over five decades, I cannot imagine my life without it. I was 14 years old when I first learned to play, and I am still able to today because I had the right health care at the right time.

My Medicare Advantage plan helped me make a recovery, and I could not be more grateful for. With the support from my providers, I was able to regain my strength and mobility, as well as develop a future care plan to prevent anything like this from happening again. The program’s emphasis on preventive care has brought me immense relief, and now I feel better prepared to manage my long-term health.

My plan also offers innovative telehealth services, so I can meet providers from the comfort of my own living room, and access to affordable prescription drug coverage that has helped tremendously in my recovery and contributed to my higher quality of life today. Additionally, I get supplemental benefits like grocery benefits that allow seniors like me to stretch my budget and support my overall health and nutrition.

When I renew my coverage late this year, I would like the Medicare Advantage program remains stable, especially when it comes to all the comprehensive coverage, robust benefits, and affordable costs I currently enjoy. That is why I am sharing my story. I hope our leaders in Washington think about experiences like mine and continue to support Medicare Advantage by working together to ensure its full funding and save and change lives for the better.

Gregory Smith is a retired teacher and musician who has lived in New York City for decades.