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Meet the Columnist

Columnist, Sheila Moss, is humor writer from  Tennessee. She writes  a weekly human interest column about daily life and the funny things that happen to everyone.

   She has written for  the Daily News of Kingsport,   Griffin Journal, Oakridge Now, Atlanta Woman Magazine, Aberdeen Examiner, Angleton Advocate,  and Smyrna AM, a supplement of the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal. She has been published by Voyageur Press, McGraw Hill, and the good folks at Guidepost Books.  Her articles have appeared in numerous anthologies and other publications, both in print and online.

    She is a former board member and past  Editor of  the, website of  the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, the oldest and largest professional organization for columnists. She is the Web Editor of Southern  and  a founder of the Southern Humorists writers' organization. She is writer, editor, and webmaster of

    To carry her weekly column in your newspaper, or to republish an article, please contact her. It's that easy. 

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ABC&D of Medicare...

ABC's and D's of Medicare

"What now?" I thought. seeing that I had I received a letter from Social Security in the mail. Usually when I hear from them it is because they have made an error and either gave me too much money and I have to pay it back, or not enough money, and they have to pay it back. You would think with all the computers the government has, they could do better.

This time, however, they were only writing to tell me my Medicare Part B was in effect and they would be deducting it from my check. Yes, I knew that when I signed up. Besides, I had already received a new Medicare card in the mail, pretty much a dead giveaway.

They also wanted to tell me I was eligible to sign up for Medicare Part D. Medicare has more letters of the alphabet than a first-grade classroom. I already knew about Medicare Part D, which is a good thing. If I waited for Social Security to tell me about it, I would not have any prescription coverage at all.

Picking a Part D provider is like playing the lottery. You pick what seems like the best set of numbers and take your chances. Firstly, Part D is not available from the government. Part D has to be purchased from a private provider, similar to Part C. It may include A, B, D, Medigap and a free puppy. Okay, I was kidding about the puppy, but they would probably figure a way to do it if it would make you sign up with them.

When someone first becomes eligible for Medicare, the mailbox is stuffed every day with insurance company mail trying to entice them to join their plan instead of taking "plain old Medicare." I decided plain old Medicare was just fine. I have no basis for comparison until I see what regular Medicare pays.

After studying the website to sign up, I was more confused than ever. Some companies had high premiums, some had a high deductible, and some had both. I liked the one with no deductible and a low premium. It made me wonder what was wrong with it; however, I decided to take my chances and give it a whirl. If I donít like it, I can change during open season. Of course, that is sort of like getting married with the idea of getting a divorce later.

Iíve learned a lot of new vocabulary words figuring out Medicare. Before I could sign up, I had to be sure my old insurance was credible insurance. Credible means they pay as much as Medicare, or 80%. Another of the favorite words for Medicare D providers is formulary. That means a list of the drugs they will cover. Why canít they use plain English and quit using five-dollar words that no one outside of the insurance industry ever heard of?

Meanwhile, I got a letter back from the Medicare D provider I had chosen saying I would have to pay a penalty as long as I have Medicare for signing up late and not having insurance for a period of 63 days. What? I signed up late because I retired late and have a special enrollment period. I not only had prescription coverage, I had it with the same company. I guess they do not speak to each other there.

After returning the form they sent and a copy of my insurance card, they called me. I missed the call so they left a message to call them. I couldnít imagine what more they wanted. As it turned out, they just wanted to say I would not have to pay a penalty. Iím glad they figured that out.

Now I know why everyone gets so frustrated with Medicare. Guess I win this round. I will bandage my wounds and wait to see what's next in the healthcare battle.

Copyright 2014 Sheila Moss


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