Monday, September 17, 2012

I Just Got Off The Phone With My Mom

My mom is 78 years old. Her only income is Social Security. She lives in Section 8 housing. Her only health insurance is Medicare which pays 80% of her health care costs, and a Medicare Supplement plan that pays the difference and costs her $9.00 a month out of her Social Security check.

She called tonight complaining about her health care and the fact that the Medicare Supplement only closes the gap on what Medicare already covers. She thought her $9.00 a month would pay for the stuff that Medicare doesn't cover. She thinks she's getting ripped off.

She is going to shop around for insurance policies that she thinks she can get on the open market that will provide a 78 year old woman who has preexisting conditions that include losing a breast to cancer, high blood pressure, degenerative myopia and mild dementia with coverage better than Medicare for less money.

She doesn't realize that what she thinks she can do is impossible.  But there is no shortage of unscrupulous insurance sales reps who get paid on commission who will be only too happy to feed on her fear, sell her a policy she can't afford, send her to a collection agency and leave her without any health care at all when she can't pay.  Because that's how the unregulated free market economy works.

In the future, if Republicans like Paul Ryan have their way, my mom wouldn't get jack shit other than a fixed amount voucher, a URL and a "Good luck! Go figure it out for yourself. Because we don't give a fuck."

Throwing American senior citizens under the bus, letting them curl up and die if they get sick because they couldn't figure out how to make enough money so that in their retirement they could afford to make rich young doctors richer isn't my idea of America.

Is it yours?

If it is, vote for Romney and hope you will wind up like him with millions of dollars in ill-gotten gains stashed in offshore tax havens.

But if you truly think that America at least aspires to be the greatest nation on Earth, then vote for Obama and the party who thinks EVERY AMERICAN deserves to grow old with dignity and good health without bankrupting their friends and family.


Masorti said...

Forgive me Xav, but wasn't it your precious Obama that held your mothers social security check hostage until the republicans decided to give in to his temper tantrum to drag us further into debt? I will never understand the short term memory issues of the liberal.

Xavier Onassis said...

Masorti - No, actually it was the Republicans who held the entire fucking country hostage while they kicked and screamed and refused to pay bills we had already incurred. Nothing wrong with my memory.

I Travel for JOOLS said...

If medicare does not cover a procedure or treatment, NO supplement will either, no matter what the supplement costs. Supplements only pick up the difference in COST of what medicare does not pay. And, in many cases, supplements still won't cover the whole cost either. Many have deductibles or don't pay 100% and on top of that, they don't cover need a separate policy for that (known as Medicare Part D). That's CURRENT policy and has nothing to do with Paul Ryan's plan.

Further, I have never heard of a supplement that only costs $9 a month. Usually, they cost a hundred or more per month. I think your mother may be on Medicaid or Medicare/Medicaid?

Medicare is VERY complicated and always has been. People have to shop for supplements of which there are many and they vary by state, cost, and the amount they cover.

I feel very sorry for the people who cannot handle these complicated matters themselves, much less pay for them. People need advocates to help them with these matters. You are going to need to get educated on medicare (not fun) and help her get what's best for her and what she can afford. It's time for re-enrollment and this is the time to get all this straightened out. Maybe there is a social worker who can help her. I would think with her limited income she should be on medicaid which covers the most and costs the least. Hope this helps.

Old Fart said...

"that's how the unregulated free market economy works."

Let me know when we have that, will ya? Because I know for a fact that insurance (all insurance, not just health) is one of the most highly regulated industries there is.

Oh wait, it's XO... you meant "not completely run by the government with taxpayer money".

Xavier Onassis said...

Jools - She probably is on Medicare/Medicaid. My sister mostly takes care of monitoring that stuff.

I understand that supplements will only pay the difference in cost of what Medicare doesn't pay. And I understand that has nothing to do with Ryan's plan.

But my point is that my mom doesn't understand that.

And under Ryan's plan, the healthcare landscape becomes INFINITELY more complicated and even more incomprehensible to the elderly like my mom.

Under Ryan's plan, my mom (or people her age 10 or 15 years from now) don't receive any healthcare at all! They get a fixed price voucher and are told to go fend for themselves. Go shop around, compare prices, plug it all into a spreadsheet, evaluate your particular healthcare needs, perform a complex, comparative, cost/benefit analysis and reach an informed decision about which plan will best meet your needs.


Who would the elderly be getting all of this information from? INSURANCE SALESMEN whose ONLY motive is pocketing a fat commission!

Ryan's plan is throwing senior citizens under the bus, tossing them a check and telling them "Go fuck yourself. This is all you will get from us. If it's not enough to keep you alive, curl up in a ball and die because we don't give a flying fuck. You're an American. You are on your own."

That's not my idea of America.

Xavier Onassis said...

Old Fart - Glad to see you're still around!

But don't get me started on the fucking insurance companies!

You know what the business model of the insurance industry is?

"You pay us for a service we never have to provide. If you ever require us to provide the service you are paying for, we will stop doing business with you because you are a 'bad risk'.

It's like if you went to the grocery store every week, wrote them a check and left without any groceries.

That would be perfectly acceptable.

But if you ever tried to leave the store with any groceries the manager would come running out screaming "HEY! WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING??? How are we supposed to be a profitable grocery store if you take away our groceries? You are no longer welcome here! You are BANNED And, we will tell all of the other grocery stores that you TAKE GROCERIES!"

That, is the fucking insurance industry. Where is all of the "regulation" in a legalized Mafia-style protection racket?

I Travel for JOOLS said...

XO - It's ALREADY that complicated. The only difference is that people would be responsible for finding not only a supplement, but the whole ball of wax. Heck, it may even be easier if you only had one plan to worry about instead of Part A, B, D, etc. and trying to figure out how all work together or not. And insurance companies are already the providers so what's the difference other than people would have to handle their money directly. Can't do it? How do we do it now? How have we done it for years and years?

I know in your world the government would do it all and be in complete control. Well, that world exists but it's not the world we live in. It's called GREECE and several other countries in Europe and we see how well that's working out. You want us to be Greece? Well, guess what we can't because NOBODY is going to bail us out. We're in the boat alone and we'll be going down alone if things don't change.

I travel for JOOLS said...

I keep forgetting to say your mother was a beautiful young woman...she really was.

Masorti said...

Xav, naw was Obama. As far as your mother and insurance companies go, I find it sickening that these people prey on our un and ill informed seniors. I recently left a position because the business exploited the poor and uninformed. As a Jew and a member of the human race, these types of businesses are forbidden for me to participate in. I just dont understand why companies cant put people first anymore.

Anonymous said...

XO, I agree with you. I am in the same situation as your mother. I essentially retired early because of my disability. The response I get from Republicans is, 'I'm sorry you're disabled, but why should I pay for your health insurance." Actually, I don't think that they are very sorry. I don't think they give a shit about anyone except themselves. I resent the implication that I am a moocher. I paid into Social Security before my vision worsened.

Ducky's here said...

Well Old Fart we can agree that there s government intervention in the health insurance market.

Health insurers have an antitrust exemption which pretty much makes the jive talk about competitive free market solutions so much hot air.

Now, if you believe that Paul Ryan's $6500 voucher proposal is an effective means to insure seniors I certainly can't understand your perspective.

Dr. Kold_Kadavr_flatliner, M.D. said...

Exactly why voting for the stanky BO doesn't help: he had 4 freek'n years to fix our health care and now you think ANOTHER 4s gonna do the trick??? All he's doing is permitting BenBernakkke, the brilliant one, to rack-up moNmo deficit to feed the NWO. Real smart, Ben. _thewarningsecondcoming.com_

Xavier Onassis said...

Dr. Kold_Kadavr_flatliner, M.D. - If that is your REAL NAME.

If Obama had the Socialist Brass Balls I thought he had when I elected him, he would have used his Democratic majority to shove a Single Payer Health Care System right up the Republicans ass so we could have a modern health care system like EVERY OTHER CIVILIZED COUNTRY ON THE FUCKING PLANET!

Giving him another 4 years won't fix that. But it will prevent Republican hypocrites like Romney for trying to repeal the exact same thing they created.

sue hanes said...

XO - My vote will be for Obama.
Every time I look at Romney and listen to him talk I can't believe that he is even a CANDIDATE for