Thursday, August 27, 2015

Once more unto the breech, dear friends...

There still seems to be little to no time to write. Or arrange and caption photos. I think of Springsteen's line, "The poets down here don't do nothin' at all, they sit back and let it all be." But I'm not in Jungleland , and all  the use of the quote does is prove that I'm good with a quote or two.

Life has taken on its old familiar satirical nightmarish absurd quality again. I will turn 65 soon. The Federal government insists that my excellent state health insurance program, which uses funds from the Federal program Medicaid, is no longer adequate as I'm now officially a "senior". Therefore, I am being removed from my current insurance and placed on Medicare. Specifically Medicare Parts I and II. They didn't ask, I had no choice. For this service, my Social Security check will have a deduction  of over a hundred dollars taken from it, beginning with this month (August), even though I won't be on Medicare until September. Parts I and II do not include a prescription plan, so I have had to sign up with another insurance company for coverage of some of my prescriptions. For another $26 or so dollars a month, two of my prescriptions which would otherwise cost me over $300 dollars a month each, will suddenly and magically be available without a co-pay. But wait - this new coverage won't cover all of my prescriptions. The answer? Re-apply for my state's Medicaid program (as in the one I'm already on). If I'm lucky enough to be accepted, then those last remaining uncovered prescriptions will be covered. For now. Until the next change. If I'm accepted. Plus, there are various programs that will help me afford to live by assisting with the amount Social Security is automatically deducting from my paycheck. If I'm lucky enough to get back on them - that's right - they are the program I'm on until the end of the month. If I'm fortunate enough to get back on the program, they will send the over $100.00 a month charge to Social Security, which will then issue me a refund. I will then send a check for that amount to the state to repay them. I'm not making this up.

There is a Federal program for help in affording the Medicare, but my Social Security income is $5.00 or so a month over the limit. If I keep all of my receipts from my co-pays, I might get the Federal program to help me afford the Federal Program.

I had help in figuring all of this out by following the recommendations of the State Medicaid representatives, and consulted with the Council on the Aging. Except that the Council on the Aging no longer exists. It is now called Senior Solutions, thank you very much. That took another 10 minutes to figure out that I had indeed called the right number. All of these organizations seem to have several different names - it's like a Russian novel.

The State Medicaid program, meanwhile, which has changed its name every couple of years, offered to send me various necessary paperwork to get back on the program I'm already on. I accepted and waited. And waited. Over two and a half weeks later, I got an envelope from another organization, which I thought was associated with the insurance I used to have at my last job. I didn't open it for several days as I was fairly busy. Turns out, it was the long awaited paperwork. Now, for the old state program I was on, all the forms can be filled out and submitted online. Not these. One of them can be filled out online, but then it must be printed out and mailed.

It's a system that seems designed to drive one mad. I suppose they are hoping I will become so confused I won't look crossing the street, or will simply end my life out of confusion and despair. The paperwork, as life slows down, speeds up and increases. And the best part? The annual  "window" for decisions on healthcare companies will open again in October. According to these folks, at that point, I'll get to do all of this over again! I can hardly wait.

Here's my show from last Saturday.
It is not designed to drive one mad.
After playing a couple for Count Basie's birthday, the old Philco tuned in August the 18th, 1942.
I hope any listeners enjoy the show.


Geo. said...

My dear fellow, I've been 65 since last year and share your befuddlement. Place I retired from 6 years ago decided to contract with different insurance companies AFTER I'd settled medigap, medisupp., rx plan-f and plan-9 from outer space with the one they had before. Now the new company is merging with others so this year threatens new plans to send me running for anxiety nostrums. Prepare yourself and be brave. Only advice I can give was given to me by an elder friend: "That red white and blue Medicare card, LAMINATE IT!" And I love your comparison of changing office names with Russian novels. That will continue. Keep good notes because info changes with or without the tides, and when your phone calls are answered by humans --not machines-- note them too. We've got this far in life; we'll get through this too. Best wishes.

sdt (a.k.a. stevil) said...

Geo - I loved your plan-9 remark. It truly captures the spirit of the occasion. I freeze up and recoil, trembling in Ed Wood horror, whenever I have to deal with bureaucracy. I had a plan that took care of everything, of minor cost, very little paperwork. Of course I can't be on it. As I'm retired, I guess the government thinks I need to be kept busy with endless rounds of forms to fill out, forms which contradict each other, forms which will turn out to be last year's and need to be filled out again on this year's revision which changed a coma. Oops, comma.

Delighted to hear from you again, ol'chap.
Best Wishes.

Delores said...

I read that three times, I have a headache and I'm going back to bed. Good Lord they make things confusing.