Madness ensues during Medicare meltdown

Medical insurance used to be so simple. Expensive, but simple. We paid bucketloads in monthly premium dollars, and for that I got to go see the doctor where I deposited the “co-pay.” How easy was that?
But several months ago our postal carrier began stuffing the mailbox with megatons of literature aimed at the big Six-Five. Not that I’d ever be 65 – at least not for EONS, but still. The onslaught had begun.
Well. It’s one of the government’s little jokes that just when your faculties get a little wobbly and you’ve killed off a good percentage of brain cells, they throw this complicated Medicare business at us. Because, like supermarket chickens, Medicare has “Parts.”
To help you navigate through all the Parts, you’re mailed a “handbook” consisting of approximately 24,768 pages, although it is considerately printed in Very Large Type for us folks who are, you know, getting on in years and don’t see quite as well as we used to.
Like any responsible person, immediately upon the handbook’s arrival I found an obscure drawer and stuffed it inside. Way in the back. Pushed it further toward the back whenever I opened the drawer. That’s because when I got the handbook I made the supreme mistake of peeking inside and was accosted by the “Preventive Services Checklist,” which contains a number of awesomely-named enterprises such as “Fecal Occult Blood Test.” Huh? I don’t even WANT to know what THAT is except this procedure is possibly explained via those new “Twilight” movies that are all the rage right now.
Regardless, I didn’t visualize that particular venture being a fun way to spend an afternoon; hence the handbook in the back of the drawer.
Then one day a large, ominous envelope arrived from my insurance company saying they were no longer going to be withdrawing that bucketload of premium money each month from the checking account. What? They were cutting me off? Hmm … time to revisit that Medicare handbook.
That’s when I learned about the Parts. Part A and Part B and whether I should get Part B and what’s covered and not covered and oh, by the way, how about Part C – the OTHER plan, which says “Advantage” (wink, wink) in it a LOT, and moving on we have Part D as in DRUGS! Please note there is only one letter of difference between “MediCARE” and “MediCATE,” folks. All these Medicare Parts A, B, C, D for the love of God! It’s our government at its whimsical best.
Let me just say deciphering the entire Tax Code would be easier than navigating through this mess. Then I unearthed the ambiguous term “Medigap.” Note again there is only one letter of difference between “MediGAP” and “MediGAG” – another governmental inside joke. “MediGAP” means you’ll want to entertain the prospect of a “supplemental” insurance policy to fill in the monetary “gaps” (hahaha).
If by now you’re not already on the verge of an anxiety-induced breakdown, you discover there is “Open Enrollment” and a “Late Enrollment PENALTY” just in case you might have, oh, you know, stuffed your Medicare handbook in the back of a drawer since you are SO far away from that big Six-Five birthday.
Alas, reality caught up with me by mail in the form of a snappy little red, white and blue Medicare card. Next came an official-looking “certificate” from my insurance company, sort of a “bye-bye-it’s-been-nice-covering-you-for-the-last-40-years-and-by-the-way-we’re-sending-the-whole-office-to-Europe-on-those-bucketloads-of-monthly-premiums-you-sent-us-over-the-decades.”
Finally, and I am every bit as shocked as you are, I found myself calling the folks who’ve been trying to get their hooks in me ever since I turned 50: AARP. Waiting to discuss supplemental insurance plans. On eternal “hold,” listening to music from the ’40s. And it hit me. WHAT am I doing? I’m a Baby Boomer for crying out loud! I was cool, I was hip, I once owned go-go boots! This isn’t happening!!! I have as much business joining AARP as I have entering the Miss America pageant!
That’s when I decided none of it was real. Tomorrow I’d wake up and be 20 again. Or 30. Or some other number. Any number that (oh, please!) has NOTHING to do with Medicare.

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