Anybody who thinks Medicare is some sort of a bargain and that all us old folks are sucking off the public teat either doesn’t know what he’s talking about or is just batshit crazy.
Just paid my annual Medigap premium: it rose by $277! That was after the Part D, which covers nothing because I don’t take any meds, went up by $60 a year. Part D is provided by a private insurer, but Medicare recipients are required to subscribe to it on pain of a penalty that amounts to a heavy, recurring fine. Part B also rose this year, but Social Security rises to cover Part B increases even in years when there’s no COLA increase (we’re now in the second year with no Social Security COLA, because after all there’s no inflation. :roll:).
Not anticipating such a large jack-up, I failed to self-escrow enough to cover the increase, so I had to raid my regular savings to pay the bill. Another two months with no clothes! Guess I’ll be wearing black Costco jeans all summer. Damn!
Medicare now costs some 15 times what I was paying for similar coverage at the Great Desert University. And of course it doesn’t cover everything. The Mayo keeps sending me incomprehensible bills, and the various Medicare providers keep sending me incomprehensible statements. Piles of paper are swelling my file folders, and I have no idea what any of it means…it’s just impossible to parse it out.
What this means is that I have no idea what I need to pay my doctors out of pocket. And that means I can’t really ever get out of debt to them, because I don’t know what to pay. Even if I could afford to do so, I can’t pay the full amount of each statement and then pocket the amounts coming in from Medicare/Medigap, because the clinic’s bills don’t reflect all the pending charges; if I spend the Medicare checks on groceries, I won’t have anything to cover the new little surprises that keep coming in the mail.
Complicating matters, Medicare will not pay the Mayo directly, advertisements to the contrary notwithstanding. The Part B coverage is supposed to direct-deposit payments to the Mayo, but for some reason because it’s the Mayo they won’t do that. Hell, no! Instead, they dribble out checks to me by snail-mail, which I have to deposit and then disburse to the Mayo myself.
Needless to say, the potential for snafu is huge. There’s always the chance that some check will be lost in the mail or in the piles of paper in my house—because a blizzard of trash paper is always coming in from these insurance companies, it’s easy to lose an envelope with an actual check in it.
Mercifully, I can now scan checks and deposit them electronically. It’s almost as much of a nuisance as physically driving to the credit union, because my scanner is excruciatingly slow. And of course, it draws so much memory or power or whatever it’s doing, I can’t do anything else on my computer while I’m waiting for it to plod through the process. The CU’s system won’t accept color scans, but my scanner defaults to color. Sometimes even when I set it to scan greyscale, it defaults right back to color. So then I have to do the whole scan over again. One time it took over half an hour just to scan in one check so the system would take it—I could have traipsed to the credit union on the way home from campus in that time!
Dealing with this bureaucratic BS is a difficult nuisance now, while I have most of my marbles. I can’t even begin to imagine how the elderly frail cope with this tsunami of confusing, complicated, demanding crapola. If you don’t have someone in your life to help out with it, you’re SOL. And you can be sure you’re getting ripped off seven ways from Sunday.
There’s just no excuse for America’s healthcare system.