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Letters to the Editor for the week of Oct. 11, 2012

Obamacare would impact senior citizens

Editor, The Sun

To wit........

• As stated, the $716 billion that Obamacare deletes from the Medicare budget will no longer be made available to Health Insurance Carriers across the country. This will have a devastating impact upon Senior Citizen insurance premiums. The $716 billion that Obamacare eliminates is currently being applied to the underwriting costs of Medicare Advantage Programs offered nation wide. Ergo, these programs are able to be offered to Seniors at a fraction of the price that would normally be required. Remove the $716 billion and the Medicare Advantage premiums will sky rocket. By the way, those senior citizens who currently have Medicare Advantage programs offered by AARP will not be immune. The carrier who provides the policies for AARP gets its money from the same pot.

• Apparently the letter writer has overlooked the fact that the leading Health Insurance Carriers in WNY are not-for-profit insurance companies. There are many such non profit health insurance carriers across the country. They maintain the lion’s share of the health insurance policies that are currently in force. Therefore, the enormous profits referred to are a myth, not reality. Here in New York, if the premiums collected exceed the the sum of benefits paid plus administrative expenses, those premiums must be returned to the subscribers either by a reduction in premiums or a refund. If there is a similar excess in federally funded programs those funds must be returned to the government. There are, of course, for profit carriers in the health insurance industry. However, you don’t see many of them in WNY for one simple reason. They can’t compete with our non profit carriers.

• He clearly does not understand the insurance business. Of course the insurance carriers are “OK with this.” All insurance companies base their business upon a pooling concept. Simply stated, the more people that are in the pool, the more the risk is spread which will lessen the financial impact upon the pool. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that if an amount of money is removed from a large pool, it will have significantly less impact than if that same amount of money is taken from a smaller pool. Stated differently, big pools tend to keep premiums at a more stable level than small pools.

• The writer said “The program also has already pushed a number of companies to offer customers no premium policies.” I hate to burst his bubble but health insurance carriers have been offering senior citizens “no premium policies” for about 20 years now.

• These Medicare Advantage programs are offered to Senior Citizens in a variety of options, ranging from $0 premiums to various higher premiums, based upon the Senior Citizens’ wishes and ability to pay. I have seen as many as 6 different Medicare Advantage programs offered to senior citizens by a single insurance company. Add those offerings to the Medicare Advantage programs offered by other insurance companies and its plain to see that Senior Citizens have a wide variety of programs from which to pick and choose. In light of these facts, does anyone still think that Obamacare is going to offer seniors “better coverage without paying more” as the writer stated?

In the words of the one and only Nancy Pelosi, “We will have to pass the bill to find out what is in it.” Unfortunately that day has arrived and not enough people have yet paid attention to it. But, they will, and very soon.

Donald W. Niles

A big heartfelt thank you

Editor, The Sun

We are always proud to say we are from Hamburg – The Town that Friendship Built. On Aug. 19, our friends and family held the “Helping Mike Win The Fight Benefit” for our family. It was a very overwhelming day to see the amount of people, not only from the Hamburg community, but all over Western New York.

We would like to take this time to express our sincere gratitude and appreciation to the Hamburg community and everyone who came out and supported our family. It defined the word community.

Enough can’t be said for everyone involved in making this a successful event. We cannot thank everyone enough for everything they did for our family. Many committees were formed for this day and we thank everyone for all their hard work, dedication and time. Thank you to all who donated in some way or another. We also want to thank everyone who attended this benefit and also for all the thoughts and prayers we are receiving.

A special thank you to all members of the Lake Shore Volunteer Fire Company, Ladies Auxiliary, Sportsman Club and Exempts for what they have done for us not only during the benefit, but also throughout the past 12 years.

Thank you just doesn’t seem enough, but please know that our family will forever be grateful to everyone.

Mike, Mary, Kaelyn, Leigh
and Allyson Gates


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