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No Complaints

Dennis Friedman

AS A RETIREE WHO HAS traditional Medicare, my health insurance premiums will cost $4,696 this year. That comes to $391 a month. I’ve had no other out-of-pocket costs in 2021, except Medicare Part B’s $203 deductible.

Here’s how much I’m paying in 2021 for each of my health care plans:

  • Traditional Medicare: $148.50 per month or $1,782 total
  • Prescription drug plan: $29.20 per month or $350 total
  • Medigap policy: $213.68 per month or $2,564 total

I know some people are critical of federal-run programs. But I have no complaints about traditional Medicare. I’ve received great coverage and timely service, and I sure needed those this year. For instance, I had a couple of health care issues that required multiple tests, including a CT scan and ultrasound, plus I had physical therapy. All these were performed in a timely manner and without any administrative hiccups.

When I think about it, I also have nothing but good things to say about the Social Security Administration. My checks are always deposited in my checking account on time.

Now, if I could get the same reliable service from my cable television provider, maybe I wouldn’t have to spend so much time on the phone dealing with service and billing issues.

That said, I do have two things on my retirement benefits’ wish list. First, I wish Congress would drop all the political posturing and continue to fund the federal government responsibly, so I can keep getting the same great uninterrupted service from Social Security and Medicare.

Second, I wish Congress would pass a bill that provides Medicare coverage for hearing, vision and dental. I could never figure out why a retiree’s ears, eyes and teeth aren’t covered under traditional Medicare. Are our heads not attached to our bodies?

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Harold Tynes
Harold Tynes
1 year ago

I guess the wildcard for many in the Medicare cost equation is the prescription drug plan. I’m a type 2 diabetic and I take Trulicity. It works well for controlling my A1c. However, I am getting quotes for coverage as I will be on Medicare in January and the best deal I can find is over $2800 for just the drug plan. This includes Medicare plan costs, deductibles and co-pays. BTW, this will be impacted by IRMAA.

R Quinn
R Quinn
1 year ago
Reply to  Harold Tynes

It pays to spend the time to shop and enter all your medications, but it’s not easy.

R Quinn
R Quinn
1 year ago

My Part B premium is IRMAA based so not $148.50, my Medigap is $243.00 and Part D is $43.00. There are great variations across the country. In total my premiums are nine times more than my employer coverage was.

I think you confuse Medicare payments with providing health care, very separate things.

Chances are the doctor or other health care professional doesn’t even know the insurance you have. It’s not until billing and then the Medicare payment is considerably below market, about 80% or sometimes less some of which is shifted to the private sector. The US health care system could not survive if every service was paid at Medicare and Medicaid rates.

My wife and I have had good experience with Medicare too, no questions have ever been asked about our care. In one year of my wife’s accident they paid nearly $200,000. However, once I tried to question a payment. It’s then the bureaucracy kicks in. You aren’t even allowed to talk with the claim processing entity. Thankfully that doesn’t happen often.

The ease at which claims are paid, the virtual lack of oversight of claim validity it part of the cost problem.

As you say, Congress has neglected the Hospital trust, it doesn’t want to raise taxes as necessary – same for SS. Total irresponsibility. Of course, Americans don’t want to hear about paying for much of anything “provided by government.”

As far as adding benefits such as dental, who pays for it? Should it even be on the table until the HI and SS trusts are fully sustainable? Part B is a blank check.

A far bigger issue for most retirees is the cost and complexity surrounding Medicare Part D. A simple tweak in a formulary by their plan can trap a retiree with hundreds of dollars a month in new spending – without regard to income. Redesigning that should be a priority over any new benefits.

Last edited 1 year ago by R Quinn

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