Dear baby boomer,
You are the healthiest, wealthiest generation that has ever lived. You have more going for you and you have more of you that any other block of people. I am very proud of you. I’m proud of your hard work. I’m proud of your savings. I’m proud of your 40 plus year marriages. I’m proud of your new love of your life after 50. Hear me when I say… we owe you for some brilliant groundwork and policy, inventions, science, medicine. And now deservingly science even says you’re going to live longer than anyone else ever has.
I have one bone to pick with you. Over the past decade I have been a Medicare literacy advocate, teaching my heart out everywhere I go. When I learned for the first time about Medicare I thought someone was yanking my chain because it is so good. That’s right… it is that good.
Original Medicare is brilliant. It is completely universal- that means everyone who has it gets the same coverage! It is public information what is covered and who covers it and even the amount it can cost. It is and has been virtually network free because the math does not support anyone excluding original Medicare. Over 80% of income I earned in the medical field comes from… services rendered to someone 65 years young and up. Original Medicare as federal health insurance (no insurance is not a cuss word) operates on less than 2% administrative cost and it not for profit. No insurance in the world acts like that. That means every dollar we pay in Medicare taxes and y’all pay in premium actually goes towards paying for care. This is the way insurance should be. You deserve it and so does every American who has worked appropriately 20,000 hours to buy your retirement health insurance.
Why are y’all giving it up so easily and without a fight. You’re better than that. What in the world am I talking about. A few years ago someone decided that we had to open up a marketplace of competition for original medicare. I guess so that it’s not a monopoly… I don’t know… how a perfectly great not for profit insurance that you pay for every single time you make a cent could ever be at risk of that.
There is another side now, y’all. When I got my first ever health and life license I took a class that was awesome. I’m that class when they came to the chapter about Medicare I was beaming because I knew the answers.
In that class at that time. He barely mentioned part c aka Medicare advantage and he said “ what a joke. they’re not going to be around much longer any way. They are simply not relevant and you don’t need it for the test.”
At that time medicare advantage plans aka part c made up about 10% of the people eligible for Medicare… then it went to 13…25….30 I almost lost it and now 45% 45% surrendered their right to original Medicare for private health insurance contracted with the government to manage their care instead of Medicare. Not in addition to it. I hate that “Medicare” is in the name and that they gave it a whole letter… part c. I don’t hate the thought and I don’t always think it’s a wrong fit. Sometimes our hands are tied and we always do the best we can with what we have where we are.
When someone buys one of these bedazzled $0 premium plans. They forfeit all the money they paid into Medicare and keep forking over premiums that help subsidize their managed care plan. Original Medicare no longer pays any of that person’s claims. I can hear some agents now “they cover what a and b does and you get a fit bit and free drugs for zero dollars.” Let me explain the minimum standard of part c aka Medicare advantage doing what a and b would without any supplemental. They can do so within the limited means of their own managed care coverage.
Let’s take Bobby and Suzy ok… they both have original Medicare. They both need xyz surgery and they can both have the same thing with their own doctor and the cost is public information. They can even have a medigap or Medicare supplement that pays their part of any part. Annie over here on her medicare advantage plan has a new fit bit and a gym membership but when she needs xyz surgery her plan can and does say “she can have xyz IF she gets a referal. Or IF she has prior authorization… or IF she goes to this hospital over here or that doctor over there or if she tries this step therapy first and then get it.” By the way any out of pocket Annie owes will come out of her pocket because she can’t have a medigap and Medicare advantage plan at the same time.. because she does not have original Medicare. She gave up that right while she has her managed care plan her neighbor recommended.
Studies have been published that show delay in care because of the prior authorization required by these FOR PROFIT private health insurance companies have caused lives to be lost. How is it that someone would choose willingly a plan that has a higher likelihood of death? How is it that the cost of care is significantly more by 200-300% in some cases with these private plans than with original Medicare.
You might be thinking what’s the big deal… the big deal is this… that additional cost is passed on to the patient. Not the private insurance company. The patient pays more. I know you are 64 years young going on 18 …invincible. bullet proof and running marathons. So it doesn’t matter if you don’t have good insurance or if you don’t get the coverage that you bought your whole working life… so maybe you’re reading this for someone else.
Between 65 and heaven we spend over $16000/year in medical cost, y’all. If you have original medicare you can plan for exactly what that could cost you. You can have coverage that is guaranteed renewable with contractual guarantees who have to pay for your care forever.
You are stronger than past generations… probably stronger than future generations and you work harder than we will probably ever see anyone working. Don’t drop the ball on your health. Don’t drop the ball on your health care for the sake of a gym membership or a zero dollar premium that does not cover cancer treatment. We can outlive almost anything… but we still have to be able to afford it.
If it’s 45% now… and these horrible commercials promising you money to take a plan… and by the way those are not I’m even the insurance companies. When you call that number… and who doesn’t want money back? You are calling a company that is selling you. They sell you as a “hot lead” and they keep selling you over time because they can get money for your number and your information. You are the one that is for sale. Not insurance that pays you..
Don’t buy it. I’m not saying don’t buy the insurance. I actually earn a living helping people sign up for coverage every day. I’m saying don’t just take it. If you know what you’re doing… and you want to give up your original Medicare and statistically -we have the data- pay significantly more in your lifetime… go for it. It don’t just take it.
What’s going to happen when that number goes over 50% is it gonna cave? No one is in a hurry to stop this madness because you are for sale. These private companies get money to take you from Medicare. They get more money if you’re sick… if they say you are…and that’s another letter for another day…
For now, if original Medicare goes away because of you and all you have left are billion dollar companies making more money from your sickness. What the heck are we gonna do. The chain of events I’m terrified to see is if doctors stop taking original Medicare because over half of y’all don’t have it anyway and they can get more of your money that way…. Then what?
Maybe another generation will take up this fight and come up with a better solution but there is no other bigger generation with the sheer number and influence than you. You are the most likely to succeed in this and I believe that you can and will if you take the time to know what you’re doing and what you’re giving up.
My parents immigrated to America when I was a young child. Even then the American dream was a seed of hope in my little heart. America was the best. If you could have seen me tell my friends about moving to America… the America….
I have clients who have to order medicine from alternative pharmacies as in pharmacies that sell the same medicine made by the same manufacturer probably right here in our back yard from other countries because they sell it for less. This is America. We should have the best of every thing. Especially medicine… part of the reason for the crazy cost is because Medicare is not allowed to negotiate with drug companies to lower prices. What in the world?! We pay for Medicare… medicine is for us… we should get to negotiate for crying out loud. We should have the best. Who would it hurt?? The drug company who is already selling it cheaper somewhere else?? The insurance company who makes more if they can’t??
Whoever it is… it’s not the patient. It’s not the American taxpayer.
New legislation that allows Medicare to negotiate has already passed the house and is heading for the senate as I write these words. This is not a left and right matter. Every single human in America wants medicare to be better. If you don’t. Shame on you. Original medicare is something that we got right. We got it right. Don’t just sell out and look the other way, please.
We need you now. You were born in a boom for a purpose and I know you can do it. You’re the youngest 64 year olds physiologically than have ever lived. Get involved. Know your rights. Don’t sell out and don’t let them sell you. You’re better than that.
Both of my American dream pursuing parents are on medicare now… I got to help them enroll… in original medicare if you want to know. Please don’t turn the American dream into a money motivated-death trap of a medical nightmare by just not doing anything. You were born for this.