We are currently wrestling with Medicare. In this struggle, my old lady is on point, but I am not too far behind. We are racing to make sense of this mess, so that we can switchover from Obamacare to Medicare on time. We have been receiving plenty of help in this endeavor. Daily mountains of mailings arrive, all with the single underlying message, pick me. Then there are the calls. We haven’t exactly been idle, but the clock is ticking and time is starting to run out, at least for one of us. I still have the luxury of relative youth, plus the added benefit of being able to learn from the experiences, both good and bad, of others.
I shouldn’t really be so surprised at the byzantine nature of Medicare. It is a huge bureaucracy, second only to the Department of Defense. Birthed in discord and fought over by Congress since its inception, every part of it bears the hallmark of compromise and there are very many parts and even more plans. More on that later. Please hold your questions until the end, but think wheels within wheels. Compared to it, Obamacare was a walk in the park.
Anne already has her Medicare card or at least one. She can collect all three and win! Or instead, choose one card to rule them all. My application is still under evaluation, having only been made last week. These things take time and she is way ahead of me on this, but she’s older too or did I mention that already?
To help make sense of all this nonsense, we attended a seminar last night. It was held at the hospital where David was born. It too was a bit of a sales pitch, but was much more low-key than the financial retirement course that we took, a few years back, whose underlying message was, [Fear] only we can save you [Fear]. The speaker was a capable lad. His mission was to plow through eighty charts, in just one hour, with questions, lots of questions. After a few charts, he went off teleprompter, answering questions and speaking more extemporaneously.
Things that I learned: Everything that at least two names. Why? Just because. If it’s a Part it is from the government. If it’s a Plan, it is private insurance. Well mostly, please see Part C below. The “donut hole” still exists and it isn’t going away. Trust a broker. Why? Because they said so, besides it’s “free”.
Both Anne and I have our online Social Security accounts. Wait, how does Social Security enter into all this? It’s complicated, just do it. With your Social Security account you can then apply for Medicare. I have applied and am now waiting. Anne has already applied, has a card for Parts A & B, a Medicare number and most importantly a Medicare login. She has even gotten her first bill already. Now she has to decide which path to follow, Supplement or Advantage.
With Supplement she needs to collect two more cards. One for Part D (drugs) and one for Plan A, B, C, D, F (maybe), G (probably), K, L, M or N. If she gets all three she wins! Or, she could chuck it all and elect to take advantage of Part C, which really is a plan, but is not the same as the Plan C just mentioned above. Got it? Moving on. In this case she would just have one card to rule them all. Now Anne has compiled a list, a very little list of the 51 plans that are available here. That’s just one Plan C card short of a full deck.
She has just two weeks to decide what she wants to do. Really only one, because of travel. No really, more than four months, but at a higher cost. I have even longer, because I am so much younger, but I really shouldn’t keep harping on that, because she might see this and not be so amused as I.