Medicare is a joke. Senior citizens deserve better

If you’re not yet a senior citizen, let me share a secret: Medicare is a joke.

Because the greatest country in the world doesn’t provide medical coverage to its citizens, it becomes incumbent upon old people to purchase supplement plans to bolster their sadly lacking Medicare coverage.

As with anything involving government, somebody must be making big money off these supplements. How do I know? Well, first they seem as plentiful as the fish in the sea. And second, companies spend millions of dollars on advertising aimed at convincing senior citizens that their plan is better than the other guy’s.

Nancy Eshelman
Nancy Eshelman

Dec. 7 is the last day for old people like me to make changes to our Medicare plans. Maybe then my phone will stop ringing and the junk in my mailbox will diminish. Maybe then I’ll be able to turn on my computer without seeing two silver-haired folks smiling contentedly with the knowledge that their insurance plan has their backs.

With all the options offered by these benevolent supplement companies, it’s up to us codgers to swim through the legalese and figure out what plan works best for us individually.

I admit I came into this Medicare world spoiled. I spent my working years with excellent medical coverage. My eyes were taken care of, my teeth sparkled. Even my gums had their own specialist.

And it cost me the grand total of nothing.

I never paid attention to Medicare. I assumed, I guess, I’d pass my Golden Years being pampered in the same fine fashion.

Talk about a reality check.

The first time I dipped my toe into the supplement sea, I bought into a plan that cost me a sum about equal to a car payment every month. It did little or nothing for my eyes and teeth, but it took pretty good care of the rest of me.

Until it didn’t.

Then I changed to another plan, still in effect. Not so costly upfront, but I have to shell out every time I go to the doctor. It’s a small co-pay for the regular doc and a hefty $40 for a specialist. And, again, my eyes and teeth suffer. And don’t get me started about my hearing loss.

My favorite part comes when someone sitting in an office halfway across the country decides I don’t need what my doctor ordered. So they won’t pay. Period.

So now I’ve changed again, or I will starting with the first day of the New Year. While I was deciding, I looked at a variety of plans. Sent for some information. Problem was, I didn’t have time to finish law school before these missives arrived.

Some declared if I needed hospital care, my share would be $200 a day for the first five days.

One thousand bucks? I thought that had to be a misprint.

Another plan offered $325 total for dental care for a year.

Have these people been to a dentist since 1985?

I considered another until I read “no routine hearing benefits.” Then I eliminated one that would demand $200 from me if my doctor decided I needed an MRI.

After gazing into a crystal ball to discern what my medical needs might be in the coming year, I picked one. We’ll see how it goes. But I leave this shopping experience disgusted.

How can our priorities be this jumbled? Every person in this country – young, old and in between – deserves a roof over her head, food on the table and medical care.

Nobody should have to wade through hundreds of pages of plans and choose among $1,000 for hospital treatment, dental care and a hearing test.

We deserve better.


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