Friday, June 5, 2009

What Fresh Hell Is This?

As you should all know by now, Travis McGee is now qualified for Medicare. This is a great thing since the insurance at my company erodes yearly and is now barely recognizable as insurance. I know that sounds grousey but we are now on a high-deductible plan that only faintly resembles what we were presented with in the meeting. That's THE MEETING, where all choices are made in five minutes, you have only that window of time to enroll, and all 500 pages of info are condensed into a two-page spreadsheet explained by an independent contractor who is paid by the number of signatures she gets. You know the meeting I'm talking about. The one where the answer is always yes. They use those up so every subsequent phone call means the answer is no.
Anyway, I am happily arguing with podiatry specialists about paying for $800 tests up front and being told by the liaison that we should just keep going to specialists until we find one that doesn't require the upfront money, something we were told, btw, that would not happen. I thought doctor-hopping was a great idea. I have been wondering how to fill those empty voids of time. I am always so bored. Bouncing around to foot specialists, making appointments, wrangling with office managers. You can see the attraction. Even from where I sit I can tell that you, too, want to tour many doctor's offices in vain.
Back to Travis McGee's Medicare. Here is my biggest piece of advice. If you are over the age of 25, start looking into it. By the time you are 65 you will be quite conversant in the theories and practical applications of government run medical care. I pride myself on knowing things. In fact, I can be quite arrogant about the vast amount of useless knowledge rattling around in my head. This little experience brought me to heel. You have your part A and part B, but depending on when you apply determines cost. Then you have your prescription plan, part D. This one is based on location. Wherever you live, you have certain options. Most of them seem the same but the prices are different. Then there is the supplemental, or gap, insurance. This is third-party insurance to fill in the holes where Medicare doesn't pay. And oh my yes, there are holes!
Medigap comes in parts A, B, C, C SELECT, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, and finally, L. I kid you not. I told you to start early learning to decipher this stuff. Each lettered plan offers different combinations of coverage but every purveyor of these plans has to offer them the same way. Some offer skilled nursing after hospital stay but not overage costs of plan B. Some offer emergency insurance but not home health care. And, they are all over the board pricewise and also are differentiated between premiums that are age based or community based, meaning that the price is age dependent or everyone in a certain area pays the same. Confused yet? Me, too.
I will say, in defense of government workers, that I talked to a lovely woman at the Medicare office who sounded relieved to be talking to someone who could hear her. I got the feeling she did a lot of yelling into the phone. She was very efficient and only succeeded in confusing me a little bit more. I tuned her out when she gave me the third reference number for the prescription plan, only to be used when talking to Medicare again and not to be mixed up with the other numbers, one of which was a confirmation of purchase and the other was something that I have no idea because I didn't listen. I'm quite sure it will be the only one I will need.
I look forward to the adventures that are coming our way. Yesterday I tried to switch Travis McGee over to my doctor. This is because his doctor is 139 and has not read a medical journal since prohibition. I figured now was a good time to get someone new involved. Guess what? My doctor is not taking on any Medicare patients. Yay! I wonder how many times we will encounter that. Again, a word to the wise. Start boning up now. You're going to need it.


Treehouse Chef said...

You are so right!!!!! If it wasn't so sad I would be laughing right now. Glad you took a break from your novel to write a bit on your blog. I missed you!!!!

Robynn's Ravings said...

The title alone brought me in and then I had a nervous breakdown. I think I'll just plan to die at 64. Of course, with this body, that might be an optimistic time frame!

corrie said...

You summed it up!
I have been gnashing my teeth with worry about this! My parents have nothing much and certainly not the ability to understand this crap...
Oops! I don't either! Aaaak!

Anonymous said...

dana! this does not have to do with this post... but i thought you maybe would be interested in looking at this church - house!

i saw it online and it reminded me of you! however - the first picture is not that great, but the rest are much better, i promise!

it's kind of wierdly decorated with not the greatest sense of style... yours is much cooler... but still interesting.


Kim said...

Nice new tagline! :) You guys are coming Thursday right?

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