Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

email: margalitc at yahoo dot com

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Monday, November 27, 2006

How the heck do they expect people to choose?

I'm eligible for Medicare starting in January. No, I'm not really 65 years old. I get Medicare because of my disability. You see, you get to wait two full years after you've filed for disability before you are eligible for Medicare, because you might be "cheating" the government by pretending to be really really sick. They expect people on disability to go without insurance for two years before they can actually get on the Medicare rolls. It's kind of unbelievable and makes absolutely no sense to anyone I've ever spoken to about this, but them's the facts, jack.

So now I'm finally eligible and they send me this crappy cardboard card like you get in the mail for AAA before you sign up. THIS is my eligibility card. Yahoo! Then, in another packet that arrives in the mail you get the most convoluted, confusing, bizarre booklet on how to decide upon the Part D prescription coverage. First you have to decide to take it, because it costs money, and not a small amount for those of us on a very fixed income. Then you have to decide WHICH program you want to sign up with. Every Walgreens, CVS, and RiteAid has a program. So do many insurance companies. Then there are the companies you don't even know about. You're evidentally supposed to call each program and find out if the medications you take are on their formulary. A formulary that can change at any time.

If you take generic type meds like Lipitor or Tenormin, then you're going to find coverage from most of the providers. If you take a lot of medications, like I do, then you seem to be screwed. Most programs don't seem to cover the majority of the 14 medications I take. Most cover the asthma meds, but don't cover my heart meds. Some cover my heart meds, but not my diabetes med. Some cover none of the above. It's a crap shoot at best.

What really pisses me off about this stupid program is that the Congress that supported it and voted it into law is patting themselves on the back for their brave movement towards helping the elderly, but they don't have to ever deal with Social Security. They have pensions and guaranteed for life insurance through the government. You gotta think that if they had to figure out this crap on a yearly basis, you wouldn't see such a lousy program. You'd have universal medication coverage.

Let's face it, the people on Medicare are the sickest of our population. They're either elderly or disabled. They need good medical coverage that covers prescriptions. Nobody should have to choose between food or meds. Heat or meds. Rent or meds. But that's what this stupid program is doing. It's too hard to figure out. It's too hard to deal with this agency. It's too hard to understand how the program actually works.

We're all gonna be old, people. A few of us are going to have decent health coverage. But most of us will not. We need to consider changes now, as the baby boomer generation ages and becomes eligible for Medicare. They just started turning 60 this year. We have very little time left. Your parents, your aunts and uncles, your grandparents are relying on us all to make this a better program for all. We need to act, people. Not just for the elderly, but the disabled as well. We need to provide what every other western nation in the world does: health care for all.

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Blogger Dave2 said...

Amen to that.

27/11/06 10:25 PM  

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