Medicare (Part 2)

African Daisy

Today, we met with Colton, our Medicare broker. Broker being the fancy name for insurance agent. He works for us, but gets paid by the insurance companies. The insurance companies have factored in the cost of a broker, into all their premiums. So, in a sense you are paying for a broker, if you use one or not. After the seminar that he held last week, it was natural for us to choose him. In the seminar, he dispensed general information, but when we met him today, at Panera, it was all about us.

It looks like we’ll be going with basic Medicare (Parts A & B). This is pretty much a gimme. We are going to go the Supplemental route (Plan G). We chose this over the Advantage path, for two reasons. First, because we do so much traveling. The Supplemental route is good nationwide, where as the Advantage plans are more regional. The other distinction is that it is easier to go from a Supplemental plan to an Advantage plan than visa versa, because other than at initial Medicare enrollment there are qualifying medical questions that you have to answer to be accepted into a Supplemental plan.

We chose Plan G over Plan F, the other most popular Supplemental plan that is available, because starting next year, all Plan F insurances will stop accepting new customers. If you are already enrolled in Plan F, you can keep it, but we fear that over time the dwindling and ageing insurance pool will lead to higher insurance costs.

Finally, Colton was able to find the most affordable Part D plan for Anne. Due to a miscommunication, my Part D requires another iteration, but there is still plenty of time for that. I haven’t even received my Medicare card yet.

In the end, we will get Medicare health insurance for less than half of what we are now spending on premiums for Obamacare and with much lower co-pays and deductibles too. It sounds like a win-win, because we have been carrying Obamacare insurance primarily as bankruptcy insurance, hoping that we don’t ever have to use it, because using it would double our costs. Plus, that means you are sick or injured. We’ve been lucky. Let’s hope that our luck holds.

Trumpty Dumpty

Trumpty Dumpty Built a Great Wall, Brooklyn Mural

Trumpty Dumpty built a great wall,
Trumpty Dumpty tweeted it all.
All of his lies and all the Fox newsmen
Couldn’t get Trumpty reelected again.

It’s tax day and I can’t think of a better time for complaining about the current administration. First off, is everyone loving their Yuge tax cut? Unless you are a member of the 1%, it’s probably not that big. For many, it doesn’t even exist at all.

I heard on NPR today that reversing years of Republican orthodoxy (Like that would ever happen?), Trump has proposed increasing spending on the IRS. Normally, I would be OK with such a proposal, but these are hardly normal times. Any man who would seriously consider using refugees and asylum seekers as pawns, to be used to punish political opponents cannot be trusted not to misuse the tax enforcement agency. I can’t imagine to what ends that man would pervert this agency, to further his own agenda.

This tax day plays out against the saga of Trump’s own tax returns. His lack of disclosure regarding them begs the question, what is he hiding? My money is on the idea that he his hiding the fact that he is nowhere near as rich as he claims to be. There were all those bankruptcies after all. I wouldn’t rule out though that he is also hiding a little money laundering on the side. While he may be able to stiff arm the House Democrats, cracks are forming around the edges. Subpoenas have been sent to Trump’s long time accountants, who have no recourse but to comply. Meanwhile the New York attorney general is probing his state returns. The truth will come out, no matter how much he tries to prevent it. Hopefully, just in time for the 2020 presidential campaign.

A Pedal in the Park

Boathouse Flotilla

I’ve mentioned before the little mystery of Forest Park Boathouse pedal boats appearing in the police pasture, on the south side of the park. At first there were only three of them and I could convince myself that they had been repurposed as horse troughs. Now, there are almost a dozen, plus a purpose-built horse trough was already there. In light of this deepening mystery, our only recourse was to head to its source. Near the end of our ride on Saturday, we headed over to the boathouse for a late lunch. While waiting for our table the mystery was solved, when we spied the new blue boats along the side of the venerable green ones that are being put out to pasture, sort-of-speak.

Cycle Zydeco is less than two-weeks away. Our bicycle training is beginning to feel like it is having an effect. We both feel stronger on the bike now. It is with some trepidation though that we hear the news from Louisiana. Last week’s church burnings have given way to this weekend’s deadly storms. Still, we will be accompanied by Saint Louis friends and this event appears well-organized.

I’ll leave you with another mystery story that was in yesterday’s paper. It comes from Oregon. There Police responded, guns drawn to a report of home invasion. Exercising restraint, while still under extreme duress, they faced an unknown danger behind a locked bathroom door. The suspect rejected repeated demands to surrender. Defiantly choosing to respond with “banging and rustling” noises. It was unclear if a hostage was involved. Even with three officers already on the scene, backup was called for. A detective and two canine officers responded from the nearby Beaverton Police Department. Repeated calls elicited no more response than the same banging and rustling, “Like a loud thud, thud, thud on glass.” Finally, after exhausting all avenues of negotiation, the moment came to bust down the door. There they encountered a most dastardly villain, a Roomba robotic vacuum cleaner. “Book ’em, Danno.”