Saturday, July 12, 2008

Medicare trials

I am now and truly an “Old Man”. Today I signed up for Medicare! What an experience that has been. Naturally I procrastinated it and refused to read anything about it until these past few days. My birthday is in June and apparently I was supposed to do all of this 3 months ago. The System assumes that there are lots of people out there, just like me, Super Procrastinators I believe we are called by the non procrastinating world. To those of you non-procrastinators I tip my hat to you and congratulate you. BUT [and here I go off on a tangent again, sorry] there is no word for you! There is no word for non procrastinators or non-procrastinators. Nada, zippo, zilch, nil. I searched the world over and found lots of web sites for non procrastinators and they all had lots of advertising to help us procrastinators clean up and organize our lives but none of them had a word for non-procrastinator. I even found a posting on a blog, called Speak Schmeak where the blogger asked the same question and asked the bloggers of the world to help her out with the word. One of the comments on the Blog said “I've been looking for this one too for a long time. I thought of "justdoitor"... But we need a word that is inspiring. What about Proactor or Protractor?” I like Protractor best.

Back to my post. I read everything I had been sent in the mail these past few months. AARP and Blue Cross had the most material and I even talked with those people I knew that were Medicarers already and found out what they did. There was no consensus I found out. Every help number that I called was actually staffed by thinly veiled salespeople only interested in selling their product so they were of little help. When I called the Social Security office out in Kansas City I got a very nice young lady that helped me through the process of signing up. Medicare A went into effect on June 1 and Medicare B goes into effect on July 1. I have chosen Medex Bronze from Blue Cross and their prescription plan for my part D. I am still working and I get health insurance from my employer. By going on Medicare I will save them money and hopefully they will keep me around, at least another year, so I can get retirement benefits.

I originally wrote this post on June 1st and today is July 12th. I think that qualifies me as a “Super Procrastinator”, as previously mentioned.

Of all of the websites I visited, people I talked to, mail I opened and read and the two people that gave me the most help were: 1] our local SHINE {Serving the Health Information Needs of Elders}; 2] Local Social Security Office. Both calls resulted in talking with people who cut through everything and gave you the straight scoop. Your SS office is in the phone book and Goggle SHINE to see if you have a state program. The Shine Lady also suggested I look into our State Veterans programs and VA programs and visit our local Veterans Officer to see if I might be eligible for any of their programs. Well, Glory Be, I am. Our local Soldiers Home maintains a cadre of Drs., techs, Nurses, etc., etc. and it is only about 10 miles away. I can use all of the facilities including the pharmacy. The VA maintains facilities about 15 miles away and I am also eligible for their services. These facilities maintain eye, hearing and tooth services. To check on my eligibility for State and Federal programs I first needed my DD214 to prove that I truly was who and what I said I was and naturally I misplaced my copies. Fortunately there was plenty of help on line to solve that and yesterday copies of my DD214 arrived in the mail. Both the state and VA want to get to know me on a more intimate detail and require physicals. My Gap insurance wants a physical also. I don’t know if I have enough “good” blood to get three physicals? Hopefully they all find the same things wrong with me and they prescribe a generic drug to solve the problem.

Yesterday I used my drug card for the 1st time as I got my prescription for Detrol LA. My co pay was $24 as it is a “Tier 2” drug. I used to pay $25 for it so that’s a good thing but I was hoping that it would be $4. Maybe, if I get into the veterans system it will be free. Hoping against hope you say.

Today I got my official Blue Cross and Blue Shield card identifying me as a card carrying MEDEX plan holder [This Medicare thing just doesn’t stop giving]. Now I carry my MEDICARE [part A and Part B] card; My MEDEX [part C] card; my Blue MEDICARE Rx [part D] card; My VA card and I am sure I will get a State Veterans card soon. None-the-less, I think I can now, safely, go out and get in a car accident and be properly covered. I should also make a copy of my medications and carry it with the cards, just to be on the safe side.
More to follow on this, I’m sure. Stay healthy and young.

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