OBSERVATIONS AND RAMBLINGS FROM A CRANKY OLD GUY (October 2022) -By: Jeff Spaulding
Written by Staff on October 12, 2022
If you are reading this and you are under 65, God bless you and all you stand for. If you are 65 plus, you will appreciate this, and perhaps you have experienced something similar. You know how they call the times of being a senior citizen “The Golden Years”? I’m going to add two words, “The golden years my ass.”
Consider this a word of caution to anyone still in the workforce and not even seriously considering retirement. Believe me, when you hear my story, you’ll be on the phone to your elder-care lawyer by the end of the day.
As of this writing I am 66 and hoping to hit 67 if my vital organs hold out. The story begins when I hit 65 and was required to sign up for Medicare. It seemed initially easy; my wife was still employed, and I was on her health insurance plan. When I spoke to my Medicare rep, I was instructed to just take Part A, and not to worry about Part B, C, D or any other letters we’re informed about from Joe Namath, Jimmy “JJ” Walker and William “I’m Kirk dammit” Shatner.
That all worked until this past June, right after my wife retired from the State of New York. Suddenly, I couldn’t get any more meds, for someone who has had a heart attack, has high blood pressure, diabetes, sleep apnea, kidney issues and has a “member” that looks like a bent carrot, you can see there was a problem.
In essence, all of my medications, 99% them vital, would have to come out of pocket. If it weren’t for GoodRX, I would be writing this piece without an arm and a leg. That also meant no medical appointments, no blood tests, no pee tests, no drug tests (well maybe that one was ok), for nearly three months. Fortunately, I stock up ahead of time on my regular meds, plus the samples provided by my medical providers helped somewhat.
Why did all this happen? An easy explanation, my wife retired before 65, and could stay on her health plan. The problem was I was not signed up for Part B, so my health care plan dropped me like a hot rock. Wait, you say, why didn’t the Medicare people tell you about this? Why didn’t your wife’s employer tell her about this? Why didn’t the health care plan people tell me about this before her actual retirement date? If I had a word that rhymes with douchebag that would be my one-word answer.
Let me pause for a moment to send praise to my wife. I’m having major panic attacks (and without happy pills that ain’t easy), minute by minute I thought I would play Fred Sanford and have “the big one”, and not one person I call can give me the proper answer, and passes me off to someone else, or gives me the “You should have read the fine print” story. My wife was a true rock, she calmed me down as best as she could and told me it was gonna be ok, we’ll either fix the problem and all will be well, or I will drop dead and she won’t have to listen to my bitching and moaning anymore. I’m a lucky, lucky man.
So, cut to the chase, it took a while, but I finally got signed up for Part B. That was the easy part, now I have to get Medicare to get that information to my wife’s employer STAT. Once they got it, I then had to have her employer get that information to my health care plan, also STAT. You would think STAT means immediately. You would be wrong. As of September 1st, my health insurance is now back, I have drugs again, I’m damn near an official Medicare member, and I’m seeing doctors again.
Let this be a lesson, no matter what your age is right now, plan, plan and plan. You are never too young to be ready to get old, it creeps up in no time. As for my wife and me, we’re all good from now through the next three years, when she has to go on Medicare herself, and the merry-go- round starts up again…bartender…
Be hearing you.