Medicare: Uncovered

Posted on November 29, 2011


Medicare, the federal system of health care for folks over age 65, comes at a really bad time in our lives, since at the exact moment it arrives, all available brain cells are either busy looking for car keys, permanently asleep on the job, or wondering if we have just baked the cooking shears into the pie.

In response to that, the federal government has come up with ways to make Medicare user-friendly, using the simplicity of the income tax system as its guide. As a result of millions of dollars put into research, the folks at Medicare concluded that most people have fond memories of the alphabet and many people over age 65 can still remember at least the first four letters.  Because of this, there are four parts of Medicare: Part A, Part B, Part C, and Part D.  These may be either small or capital letters and may occur in no particular order.

Parts A and B are relatively straightforward.  Part C combines Parts A and B, has “networks” and several “plans.”  Plans include PPO, HMO, PFFS, MSA, PTSD, PMS, and MUFFY. All of the plans mean something really important, and choosing the wrong one will have a huge impact on your health and well-being.  Consumer brochures like “Medicare and You” say it best: “Part C is really not that complicated once you understand it all.”  This concept can also be applied to quantum mechanics, linear transformations from an irregular vector space to an elementary space, and why celebs marry each other.

 Plan D is for prescription drug coverage, although Plan D can also be incorporated into Plan C, as long as you fold in gently, rather than stir.  Of course, nuts and chocolate chips are optional.

If you are concerned at this point, don’t bother. It gets worse.  AARP provides a “Medicare Starter Kit: Everything You Need to Know to Make the Right Choices and Avoid Costly Mistakes.” In addition to some seriously cute illustrations in which people are made with wiggly lines, it provides the following words of comfort to the question, “Why is Medicare So Confusing?”:

“…Although…Medicare now resembles a crazy quilt that bewilders many enrollees…it still gives the comfort of guaranteed health coverage…”

These words are important, mainly because everyone knows what a quilt is.  And everyone also knows that if someone else is in the bed with us and hogs the quilt, we will never get to sleep and we will be really cranky in the morning.  The same can occur with a lack of medical coverage, except then we might end up dead in the morning, instead of just cranky.

If all this is getting you really excited about enrolling, don’t.  There are a lot of rules about when the exact minute is that you are allowed to enroll. The AARP article on Medicare provides some serious warnings in big red type, and the actual word “Warning” (in red type) is used several times.  The exact minute you are allowed to enroll is determined by your birthday, your employment/military status, your marital status if in a same-sex marriage or partnership, and your Meyers-Briggs Personality Profile.  Missing your personal deadline means a permanent penalty added to your premium for the rest of your life or until death, whichever occurs first.

In the event this article hasn’t fully addressed all of your issues, concerns, expectations, fears, phobias, and/or food allergies, you can visit the following: (This has absolutely nothing to do with Medicare but it’s hilarious and will provide you with a laugh, even if this post hasn’t.)

For more info on Medicare,  just don’t come here.