I believe I have found the explanation for forgetfulness in our aging
Like most people, I didn't give a flip about understanding Medicare and thought
old people were just being senile by not understanding it. After all, it's just
insurance. How difficult can it be?
Now I'm suffering from Medicare induced dementia myself.
I had occasion this past month to try and bone up and get an idea of what is
going on with Medicare -- not that I will ever turn 65 myself, of course. I have
never seen such a confusing way to get insurance in my entire life.
First of all, I was under the impression that Medicare and Social Security sort
of came together since both are administered by Social Security. Wrong! We are
talking about the government here. Everything must be as confusing as possible.
You reach Medicare age at 65. You reach full retirement age for Social Security
at various ages, depending on when you were born. For those reaching 65 this
year, it is age 65 and 10 months, and it becomes a bit older for each succeeding
Of course, you can retire as early as 62, with reduced Social Security benefits,
but the amount you can earn after retirement is limited. At full retirement age,
you can receive Social Security and also earn as much as you want, presuming you
want to work instead of rock.
Before we become totally confused, lets talk about Medicare.
Medicare has many parts and each part covers something different. The parts are
creatively named A, B, C, and D. A is hospitalization, B is medical and doctors,
D is drug coverage. C once was Medicare Choice (C, get it?), but is now called
Medicare Advantage (still C, or MA) C is optional private insurance instead of
the original Medicare plan.
Simple? Good, lets move on. If you have A and B, there are large deductibles,
and you need yet another plan to fill these gaps. This is imaginatively called a
"Medigap" plan or Medicare Supplement (not part G). Actually, these
plans might as well be called Greek since nobody is exactly sure what they
Part C sometimes includes D, but not always. D's vary greatly, so you have to be
sure to find a plan that covers your needs. If you are not retiring when you
reach 65, you need A but not B until you stop working, provided you
have employee insurance. If you have either A or B, D is optional. A is free for
most people, but the rest of the alphabet has a premium attached.
Seniors age 65 are informed that they must decide NOW as the premiums will increase if they wait. They are bombarded with information, mail falling out of
the box, and a phone ringing off the hook. Various insurance companies,
including AARP, all claim to have the best plan, most popular plan, or a number
of different plans to fit your budget. No wonder people are confused!
One insurance plan runs commercials on TV showing seniors dancing and claims to
have everything covered, even extras that are not covered under other plans,
such as eyeglasses. Maybe extras should be called part E? Soon we will have so
many parts we will run out of alphabet and need to use the Greek letters, like
We have merely scratched the surface of an explanation here. Suffice it to say
that if you do not have to figure this mess out for your job, aging parents, or
yourself -- enjoy your liberty. One of these days, time will catch up with all
of us. Of course, there is probably no need to worry about it now as it will be
completely different by the time you reach retirement age anyhow.
As I said before, it isn't dementia that is driving seniors over the edge - it's