Friday, December 29, 2006

Medicare Part Duh!

I live in fear that one of these days, my former employer will decide not to cover retirees with a prescription plan as part of its health insurance any more, and I'll be forced onto Medicare Part D before somebody realizes what a rip-off it is. GAP, MY ASS!

In the past year or so, I have received more snail mail than I have in the past decade. Insurance companies I've never even heard of have offered to sign me up. I have read everything they sent me and every time I finish reading one, I send a thank you note to the HR department of my former employer.

I have a friend who was forced to sign up for Part D because she is retired from the Arkansas School System and she was notified that she would no longer be covered. So, she has spent untold hours searching for, then signing with a company which shall be nameless. Then, she discovered that they had put her in the wrong plan and charged her twice what they told her it would cost for the monthly premium. Then, when she tried to get out of that plan, she couldn't get anyone to answer the phone. So, she called the local agent, who had sold her the policy and he couldn't help her. He said. So, she persevered, calling first the Social Security Administration to report what had happened, then she called the Arkansas Insurance Commission and never could get a human on the phone there, either. Finally, in desperation, she started a letter-writing campaign which included our worthless Congressman, John Boozman.

I think she finally managed to get some advice from Social Security, and was able to disentangle herself from that insurance company. Since then, she has been doing some in-depth research, looking for a company that will cover all her meds and won't send her to the poor house when she reaches the "gap period", which happens in about six months, in her case. One of her meds would have cost her $6000.00 per month if she had to pay full price for it. The best price she could find will cost her $300 per month.

What Part D amounts to is coverage for only about 6 months per year. My question is: Why is there a "gap" period in this prescription plan? There have been countless companies offering health insurance and prescription coverage for decades without any gap. Why is it necessary now? And, how many months would it take for a retiree to go broke?

I know how long it would take me. And, I don't like to think about it.


Alan G said...

It is that time of year when we are all renewing or changing our Part D Plan carriers. Of course all the monthly rates have increased. My monthly Part D premium went up about 3% while the Medicare premium itself went up about 4% or so. And….the coverage’s in many cases changed. Last year I had no deductible and a premium of $17 a month. This year for the same coverage, my premium increases around 3% and they added a $250 deductible.

Now fortunately I only take three medications and they do run about $45 a month retail. Now if any of those medications are generic under the Part D plan provider I have, there is no charge. Sounds pretty good…right? But I will pay a total of $35 dollars a month for the other two which aren't generic. Oh, and don’t forget my premium of $20 a month. Hmmmm….seems I am paying $55 a month for prescription costs with a Part D plan but if I had no plan at all I would only be paying $45 a month. So why even participate? Because for each year you don’t participate Medicare assesses a percentage penalty to your monthly costs if you ever do join. That in itself is a bit of a crock. It is a bit like our car insurance in a sense because the law requires you to have the insurance in our State as you know. Of course in that case it is to protect the other fellow. And to compound that, I have to secure even more car insurance coverage and endure an even higher premium incase the other fellow fails to follow the law.

And the gap….well you seemed to have already covered that. Some of the Democrats have promised to review and put forth legislation to try and eliminate the gap so we will see. I do feel for the multitude of folks who are affected by the gap. I have a friend who has cancer and it only takes them about three months to hit the gap.

Oh….you asked why the gap? Well according to the politicians it is there to keep our drug costs and premiums down. Need I say more….

patsy said...

this whole plan is for insurance companies, durk companies and big business. god help us all because of george bush we have been bent over you know.

patsy said...

should read DURG CO. sorry.

Chancy said...

lol Patsy I love "DURK CO."

Combo of drug and dork= DURK CO.

dot said...

I hate to think about dealing with this.

Joy Des Jardins said...

Frightening and shameful! That's all I can say. I have another 5 years before I can go on Medicare, and I thought I'd be relieved to have the coverage instead of the awful premiums I pay now since my work insurance (Cobra) came to an end, which was bad enough. But honestly Betty...I'm not relieved at all listening to all of this horrendous mess. When is someone going to wake up and do right by all of our elder citizens? It scares the hell out of me.

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