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Answering Medicare Concerns

While getting older can open access to a whole host of interesting benefits — wisdom, experience and even some great discounts — it can also offer its fair share of complications.

Take Medicare, for example, a national social insurance program that offers health insurance for Americans 65 and over. Like many programs offered by the U.S. government, it boasts a nearly insurmountable degree of complexity to the average person.  

Steven Semryck of the Semryck Financial Group of Hauppauge said that he’s been in the financial business for a total of 40 years, specializing specifically in Medicare. He recently held a presentation on the subject at the Plainview-Old Bethpage Public Library, along with wife — and business partner — Pat,  as a form of community outreach.  

“What we’re doing tonight is showing people what their options are for Medicare, and really explaining what Medicare is all about,” he said. “Most people have very little knowledge of Medicare and it’s a very difficult topic, so we’re here to help them.”

Semryck noted that when it comes to Medicare, most of the confusion people tend to have arises from the basics: what they should do and when they should do it. He said it can be flabbergasting to figure out what they can and can’t do, and the difference between the types of plans that are available.

In addition, Semryck noted that there is some conjecture on the subject of just how to supplement a Medicare plan with additional coverage once an individual has turned 65. Often, Medicare alone just doesn’t cut it for many people with needs that come along with the advancing of age.

“It should always be supplemented, because there’s too much at risk...they’re at risk for 20 percent of doctor and hospital bills," he said. “That can really add up, so they’re much better off insuring their Medicare plans...it would probably cost less than what they would pay for regular health insurance. It’s not inexpensive, but it’s more of a financial burden as you get older if you don’t have coverage above the Medicare, because that could really destroy your income.”

Semryck, along with his wife, holds Medicare presentations such as this about 30 to 40 times a year in local area libraries and adult education facilities; he said they do it both as a community service and as a way to make people aware of the professional services that they can offer.

Semryck’s wife of 22 years, Pat, said that she met her husband shortly after she had embarked upon a new career in the insurance industry. The two realized that they worked together well in more ways than one, and became partners both professionally and personally.

“We work well together...we’ve been working together for 15 years now, and we each know our areas of expertise,” she said. “I mostly handle the paperwork and the clerical side of the business...I also hold a life and health license, so I’m involved more in the health side of Medicare, while my husband is more involved in the financial side. Together, we pretty much cover all the bases.”

Frank Johnston made the trip to the Medicare seminar all the way from Westbury; he said his wife would soon be going on Medicare, and he that they needed a little help navigating the complex maze of legalities involved.

“There are so many choices and decisions to make, and we just want to make sure that we have the latest information, basically,” he said. “I’m in Medicare now myself, and I think it’s pretty good, but I’m in a different situation than my wife, because I have Veteran’s ‘B’ coverage, which handles medications and pharmaceuticals, stuff like that, which she obviously doesn’t have.”

Rocco Figalora of Plainview hauled down a daunting metric ton of paperwork, all of it pertaining to Medicare. He said that he was hoping that the Semrycks could help him to make heads or tails of it all.

“I’m 87, so obviously I’m Medicare eligible...in fact, I’ve had it for 20 years, but I wanted to see what it is all about, because I have a supplemental policy but I don’t think that it covers all of my needs,” he said. “Maybe there’s something that I’m missing after all of these years, and I thought I’d spend some time here and possibly learn something...I like to learn about things, especially this...I may need it.”

Pat Semryck said that, when it comes to making an informed decision about Medicare, the first and foremost piece of advice she could offer would be to exercise patience. That, combined with the right know-how, can equal a solid plan for maintaining your health as you enter your twilight years and beyond.

“Don’t make a rash decision...look into everything,” she said. “Read up if you can, and come to one of our seminars if they’re available, because that’s why we’re here...to enlighten people and make them aware of what’s out there for them. We give people the building blocks, and we enjoy helping them.”

If you have any Medicare questions for the Semryck Financial Group, you can email them at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .