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The columnist has written about her father before -- about his 40 years of truck driving before retirement and a trip to the opera. Now Leroy Falkenberg and his family are finding a way to fight his cancer.  Photo: Lisa Falkenberg 

Consult an expert. Then become one.

Think you're the first person who's ever been in this situation? Somebody else has been there, done that, and written a book on it. Scour your contacts and see if you know one of them. Research online for support groups, sources in news articles or advocacy organizations that can provide guidance.

One of my first calls was to Bohmann, who doesn't handle Medicare plans, and referred me to Mitchell Jerome, an agent who does. I was so clueless when I first began this journey that I thought Medicare was Medicare, that coverage on something like cancer was the same. Wrong! Jerome explained that some less-expensive Advantage plans are managed by HMOs, which limit the doctors and hospitals covered. He laid out options: if my dad moved in with me in Houston, for example, he could immediately choose a new plan in the new market. The great thing about consultants like Jerome is their services are free to patients; they get paid by insurers. He says 65-year-olds transitioning to Medicare for the first time are putting themselves "in harm's way" if they don't use an agent.

Lisa Falkenberg  Houston Chronicle


Mitchell Jerome

P.O. Box 6556

Kingwood, TX 77339

Phone: 713.639.5097

Fax: 832.644.6423

Toll Free: 877.402.7236


Medicare Supplements

Medicare Advantage Plans

Individual Health

Dental Plans


Fixed Annuities

Final Expense

Life Insurance


Located in Texas and serving the Greater Houston area and the state of Texas.

"Medicare has neither endorsed nor reviewed this information. It is not connected or affiliated with any United States Government or State agency. Calling this number will direct you to a licensed Agent/Broker."

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