CMS boss meets with Utah Medicare beneficiaries

Salt Lake City, Utah- (ABC4 Utah) – The nation's top Medicare official is in Utah touting open enrollment for the program, which is now underway.

Local Medicare beneficiaries have lots of questions and concerns, and some of them had the opportunity to take those straight to the Seema Verma, the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Martha Autrey-Collins is one of them. She and her husband are enjoying the retired life in Syracuse, Utah.

She says Medicare is a big part of that.

"Medicare has been good to me, but now my husband on the other hand is an amputee, and Medicare has been fabulous for him.”

Autrey-Collins is concerned about controlling the costs and making sure the program is sustainable.

"I'm concerned about the generations coming behind us, and whether they will be able to, you know, have a program similar to this."

Monday, Autrey-Collins and others were invited to discuss those concerns with Verma. She's in Utah talking about open enrollment and the state of Medicare.

"The president is absolutely dedicated to making sure that the Medicare program is protected for our seniors. We know folks have been paying their entire lives, and so, we want to do everything that we can to make sure that the beneficiaries of the Medicare program have access to high quality healthcare services," said Verma.

She says this year consumers have more plans to choose from, and can expect to see lower prices.

They are also taking a big step with the Medicare cards.

"It's going to take off the social security number that was on the card before, because we know that a lot of seniors were being hurt by identity fraud that was going on," Verma said.

She says her vision is to protect participants, and empower them to make the decisions best for them.

Open enrollment for Medicare runs through December 7, 2017.

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