Wednesday, October 27, 2021

I do not like Medicare

Remember I said I didn't know anything about Medicare and I was worried about having to switch from a decent, employer supplied coverage when I was forced to retire? I was right to worry. It would appear that America cares little or nothing about its elderly. I also complained about the endless spam generated by Medicare.

I am sure everyone knows by now that Medicare doesn't cover vision or dental. There is a big fuss because there is a bill to include these in Medicare and all Republicans and some Democrats think that is a waste of money. 

So far what I have learned about Medicare is that even though you pay into it all your working life, you still have to pay for the coverage once you qualify for  it. What you pay is based on your previous year's salary. So, the first year of retirement you pay a relatively large monthly fee for the privilege of having very limited coverage you have already paid for while working. Everyone who is on a salary that is. Obviously the very rich who already escape paying much in the way of taxes probably don't pay much into Medicare either; I am not sure about that but it is an educated guess.

My guess is when they first came up with the idea of Medicare, the majority of old people had already lost all their teeth - so it was considered unnecessary to include dental care. As for vision, I can't think of a good excuse to not include that except that the majority of old people have bad eyesight and therefore it would be too expensive for them all to get subsidized vision cover. 

Therefore, if you have Medicare, and can afford it, you get a supplemental insurance cover - which they call Medicare Advantage - I guess the advantage is your teeth won't rot in your head and you will be able to get help to see sufficiently well to read, drive and watch TV. The advantage is specifically designed to fill the gaps in Medicare; naturally you pay for this also. I previously complained that the one and only medication I need to take regularly is not covered at all by either Medicare or the 'advantage' insurance. 

Today we discovered another way to sock it to old people. Allergy shots. I also wrote about the fact that, now we are vaccinated and boosted, we returned to the allergy clinic. Unfortunately we had to start all over again. Get tested then go through build up - for those of you who are not familiar with allergy shots, once they find out what you are allergic to, they concoct a mixture of precisely those items and, in order not to kill you with the first injection, you have to build up slowly to the full strength. That means forty shots, starting with a weak solution, increasing slowly to the maximum strength. After that you get a shot every few weeks. Our plan was to get four shots a week until we reached the full strength and then once a month thereafter.

Well, turns out our old people insurance cover will only allow us three shots in a seven day period. There we were thinking we would be up to full strength by Thanksgiving only to discover not only have we already broken the rule and will probably eventually receive a bill for all the 'extra' shots, but now we have to slow it down and it will be more like Christmas before we will be on the monthly shots. On top of that we have to do some minor math calculations before heading out for our shots to be sure we are within three per seven day schedule. 

What I find equally irritating is the fact that it took six weeks for the Allergy Clinic and the Insurance provider to communicate this fact. During that six week period we have been getting 4 shots per week. That is a big billing mess they will have to sort out.

The moral of this story is, actually there are a lot of lessons to be born in mind - don't retire if you have a choice. As I said, I had no choice. If you have to retire, don't live in the US. 

And finally - Vote! no matter how hard they make it for you to vote, vote! and I don't care who you vote for, but the small turnout of voters in the US never ceases to amaze me. If everyone who has a vote, exercised that vote, at least there would be a true representation and maybe something would get done. Maybe.

No comments:

Post a Comment