We got the envelope in the mail on Friday. Second Notice! The nerve of us. We had failed to respond to the first solicitation and now we were being admonished with this, our second notice. How dare us? Why didn’t we jump on the opportunity to subject ourselves to a high pressure sales pitch from some cubicle junkie to purchase some crappy Medicare Advantage policy? The call is free. The results are devastating. In just a few minutes I could lose the benefits of Original Medicare and my Medicare Supplement to gain ___. To gain what? Routine dental? Mediocre vision? Maybe, just maybe, I’ll score a plan that puts a week or two’s worth of meals into my freezer after I’m hospitalized, which might sound good if you ignore the thousands of dollars I might have to pay for that hospital stay. I guess I’ll be getting a third and fourth notice before the end of Open Enrollment on December 7th.
One of my clients told me about a phone call she had recently received. She normally doesn’t answer her home phone, but was waiting for a call from a repairman. The call was a solicitation for a Medicare product. She was too polite to just hang up, but when she said that she wasn’t interested, the caller became abusive. She objected and his response was that it was her own damn fault. She shouldn’t answer her phone if she didn’t want to hear his pitch. That is the world we live in today.
A woman called my office and asked me if she was “getting all of the benefits she was entitled to”. I told her that she was entitled to the peace of watching her TV without misleading Medicare commercials.
Last year’s post, Who Is Selling Your Name? was about solicitations we were all receiving because Follow My Health (University Hospitals) and My Chart (Cleveland Clinic) sold our names to an online/call center Medicare marketer. As noted at the time, the marketer was no better and no worse than any other call center. The odd part was that it looked like the hospital systems were recommending the patient to change coverages. Of course they weren’t. This was simply another way for someone to make money off us.
This year many of my clients have received a similar solicitation. This time our names, yes mine too, were sold by Giant Eagle pharmacy. Giant Eagle has provided our names, addresses, and who knows what else, to that same online/call center Medicare marketer. The clients called to ask me why they got these solicitations. Were our specific prescriptions provided? Probably not. Were our phone numbers provided? I hope not, but who knows? We all agree that this feels more egregious, a greater abuse of our trust.
Privacy is an illusion. I tell my clients that we are undressing in front of the windows. Smile and wave. Still, there are times to stand up for ourselves. I will be moving my prescription to a new drug store and I am suggesting that my clients do the same. The only way to express our displeasure is by hurting their bottom line.
Will I contact Giant Eagle to explain why I’m pulling my business from them? No. I don’t think they deserve a second notice.
Picture – More Junk Mail – David L Cunix