Medi-baffling: Wading through enrollment options a trying task for many seniors
AARP volunteer Fred Turner could not be a nicer guy. Video by IdahoOnYourSide.comvideo
AARP volunteer Fred Turner could not be a nicer guy.
“Now, the increase in premium coverage is coupled with the cost-of-living adjustment that Social Security is going to pass,” Fred said in an interview, Wednesday afternoon
He spent 30 minutes answering our same silly questions about Medicare, over and over again.
“The insurance company typically will pay 80 percent of the cost,” Turner said, “up to approximately $2,900.”
But – and we’re sorry, Fred – we still didn’t get it.
“At that point,” he said, “then you have to pay your own cost of prescription drugs up until you’ve expended about $4,500 of your own money.”
We’ve taken all of these quotes out of context, but see how confusing they all seem?
“It’s very confusing,” 76-year-old Donna Haynes said, “and complicated and hard.”
Haynes likes to walk and play Bingo. She also finds Medicare absolutely mind-numbing.
“Then,” Fred said, “coupled with the $2,900 that you paid initially – you and the insurance company – that puts you into what’s called the Catastrophic Coverage.”
Catastrophic Coverage? That sounds a little like double-secret probation.
“I’ve just been overwhelmed,” Jack Ransom said.
Ransom helps his 76-year-old mother, Constance, to select the best Medicare coverage for her.
“I always have to call for clarification,” Ransom said. “I don’t know how they do it. It’s written in legalese.”
Thanks to Fred’s patience, we were able to translate the most important legalese regarding changes to the system in 2012:
- Most can expect their Medicare premium to rise.
- All will receive a free yearly wellness exam.
- The payer’s prescription costs in the “donut hole” will fall from 100 to 50 percent.
Now, at this point, we could explain the donut hole, but instead we’re going to recommend you track down someone like Fred. He recommended to us that anyone struggling with this stuff contact the Idaho Department of Insurance and get a senior health insurance benefits advisor. Those people are volunteers with no interest other than helping you.