Morning Joe broke for a commercial moments after I had turned on the television. The first ad was from You Know Who, one of the largest marketers of insurance in this country. They don’t like to admit that they sell insurance. They prefer to advertise that they endorse certain products. Yeah. Yeah. In this day and age of 10 second and 20 second spots, this one full minute Medicare Supplement advertisement felt like a documentary. As soon as that commercial ended, a new ad, from a different company began. This one featured a former football star, 40+ years past his glory, pitching all of the free stuff that came with some unnamed Medicare Advantage policy. The 30 second commercial for Tylenol was a welcomed relief.
I turned 65 today. That stack of junk mail pictured above is a small fraction of the solicitations I’ve received in the last year. One company, You Know Who, has been sending stuff to both my home and office. As an official old person, I find that the television shows that I watch seem to be sponsored by medications, investment companies, and Medicare products. The newspaper, yes I still get the Plain Dealer delivered, has envelopes inserted for Medicare products. I sometimes watch football just to be a part of a different demographic.
I had a doctor’s appointment this morning. My first on Medicare. I presented my Medicare Card and my Medicare Supplement Card. I won’t mention the company since I don’t want this to be seen as a recommendation of a particular insurer. My previous coverage was a Grandmothered $5,500 deductible HSA qualified policy with Anthem Blue Cross. My January premium was over $800. My new Medicare premium for a Plan G contract is around $125 per month and my deductible for Part B services is $198! The doctor’s staff gladly accepted my Medicare Card. I now have the best, most comprehensive insurance I’ve had in almost 30 years. And I am covered in all fifty states.
There are people who misuse the word Medicare and apply it to a very different type of coverage, to a policy that covers 100% of everything. That isn’t Medicare. That is a fantasy. Medicare, with its deductibles and copayments, was designed to pay approximately 75% to 80% of a beneficiary’s medical bills. But just as some long to make Medicare even more comprehensive, there are others trying to weaken it. As noted in a recent post, the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons is still fighting the existence of Medicare fifty-five years after its creation. And Mitch McConnell has targeted both Social Security and Medicare for cuts after the next election. The impact this could have on those reliant on these programs is beyond comprehension. Some might caution that we should first wait to see the results before we raise our concerns. But those are the very same people who would have repealed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act without any replacement.
My health insurance, the way I will access and pay for care, changed last Saturday. I am now on Medicare. But my concern, and the concern of other insurance agents around this country, is unchanged. We are here to make this system work. And as our system changes, to make that new one work, too. About 1,000 of us will be in Washington at the end of this month to meet with members of this administration, the House, and the Senate. Now is the time to let us know your thoughts and your concerns so that we can share them with the people who write the rules. That, too, is part of our job.
Picture – Junk Mail – David L Cunix