The effort to address issues of Medicare in Anchorage has been nothing more than a “Band-Aid on a Hemorrhage”
When our Anchorage elders reach 65, they should be celebrating retirement, not wondering if they are going to be dropped by their doctor. Anchorage Faith and Action - Congregations Together (AFACT) will hold a one hour meeting on Monday, October 8th, at 7:00 pm at Lutheran Church of Hope, 1847 W. Northern Lights Blvd, to publicly address critical Medicare issues faced by seniors in Anchorage. The public is invited to attend and will be given opportunity to provide testimony. Dr.George Rhyneer Sr. of the Alaska Medicare Clinic, and Ms. Judith Bendersky of the Medicare Information Office have been invited to attend the meeting.
Through over a hundred visits with Anchorage seniors, AFACT leaders heard many concerns. Monday’s meeting will address the lack of sustainable access to primary care for Anchorageʼs Medicare recipients, and lack of clear information about local Medicare services.
We have heard that many primary care physicians in Anchorage drop their long-time patients as they age into Medicare, often without warning. Three clinics in Anchorage currently accept new Medicare patients, but unless changes are made, they will not be able to support the rapidly growing senior population which will double by 2020.
Confusion in finding care once people age into the Medicare program is compounded by the fact that many people do not understand their Medicare benefits, and don’t
know where to look to find clear answers.
Leaders from the Local Organizing Ministries of Central Lutheran Church, Lutheran
Church of Hope and other members of AFACT have researched these issues in an effort to respond to concerns raised by congregation members, and hope to shed light on why Anchorageʼs seniors are in the dark about Medicare.
AFACT was created in 2003 to organize, empower, and mobilize faith communities to
address quality of life issues affecting their community.