Friday, August 7, 2015

Medicare, If You Dare

You're our age now, Perry.  
Admit it.  Get used to it!

Just last week I had a terrible experience only slightly less horrible than being shot at dawn by a squadron of expert marksmen, each and every one of them a morning person. Were my execution to have been at a reasonable hour, say 2:00 P.M., the experience I underwent would have actually been more horrible!

I signed up for Medicare.

It happens so fast. It happens so soon.  It seems like I just signed up for Boy Scouts, even though I was never in Boy Scouts.  It seems like I was just hanging in Singles Bars, approaching women who would reject me, and playing Ms. Pac Mac, who would also reject me.  It seems like I was only 40, scaling the heights of fatherhood only to turn around and find my heights scaling skills rapidly scaling back. 

Nowadays you sign up for Medicare online, which saves the embarrassment of sitting in a room full of doddering guys wearing plaid pants and white belts and reading the Daily Racing Form.  After a long wait regarded as wholly immaterial by most of the folks waiting since they have nowhere else to go anyway, the clerk would call you up with these words:
Next overage loser waiting to die!

So I'm at least a little pleased that the route to Medicare is no longer through the bureaucratic equivalent of the Carpathian Mountains but rather by clicking on to  There you find all the information about America's unique health care program for seniors, which is a good one, but whose rules are as convoluted as a Philadelphia soft pretzel.

Medicare is comprised of four parts, which are:

Medicare Part A covering hospitalization.  Days 1-60 in a hospital are mostly covered, although days 61-90 require coinsurance.  That means you better get your ass out of the hospital by day 60 unless by day 60 your ass is totally out of the hospital un-getable!

Various expenses are not covered by Part A including free HBO, cherry jello for desert, and timely medical attention. 

Medicare Part B provides doctor benefits. It is important to choose the right doctor under Medicare. Signs you may have chosen the wrong doctor include:
  • Bitterly disappointed that Sarah Palin was wrong about death panels.
  • Refers to you as "Gramps."
  • Board Certified in Geriatrics, which means especially qualified to take care of older patients whom nobody expects to get better anyway.

Medicare Part D provides prescription benefits. Some of us need these more than others. I could single-handedly keep a small pharmaceutical company afloat through lean economic times for at least a year or two. Believe it or not, it was George W. Bush who gave us Medicare Part D. Laudable though it is, Part D features something called a donut hole, which provides that after $2960 of drug expense in a year the plan cuts off payment until some distant point in the future. 

Isn't that just like George Bush, getting us into something with no damn clear way out?

Supplemental Coverage is not officially part of Medicare.  It fills in the gaps left open by Medicare A, B, and D.  I'm pretty sure I get cherry jello.  That's all I care about now that Curb Your Enthusiasm is off the air.

Anyway, I did sign up for Medicare last week and it took no time at all.  And the coverage really is comprehensive. So do I still consider signing up for Medicare a horrible experience?




At least it's not at dawn.



Russell said...

Dear Gramps,
This read like an ad in AARP. Maybe when I reach the overage-loser-waiting-to-die age, you can walk me through the process.
Smart Ass Young Whippersnapper

Intangible Hearts said...

I suggest the supplemental but I'm still a whippersnapper too.

Perry Block said...

Probably won't still be alive then, you Smart Ass Young Whippersnapper!

Perry Block said...

I hope I've educated you for when the big day comes, during the President Trump administration.

Intangible Hearts said...

That's hilarious. Gruff and nasty might be necessary--after all he's up against a guy who doesn't wear a shirt while bear hunting.

Perry Block said...

Yes, he likes to bare hunt while he's bear hunting. But Trump has done the incredible for me - he's made me like Megyn Kelly!

Rufein said...

Not only relatable, but informative too! Loved the piece. And, LOVE "Flying Monkeys in the Mist." (Not sure of blog-style titles, i.e., do we use quotations, italics, nothing at all. Eh, who cares?) Hymie, lol!

Perry Block said...

Thanks, Eve. You are curing me already!