I have literally spent more than 10 hours (probably more like 20) trying to figure out what new Medicare insurance plan to choose for my brother-in-law. He currently pays for his insurance through his former employer. They have chosen to get out of the business of supplying insurance carriers for their retirees, so by the end of May, all retirees have to choose a new Medicare Plan.
When I first got the booklet for this, I was sure it was a scam. These Medicare Insurance companies that ‘help’ you choose a plan are suspect to me. But I called his employer. All I wanted to know is if it was a scam. I didn’t want any specific information about my BIL or his account as a retiree.
I had to jump through a billion hoops (this is not included in the 10 hours above), prove my POA status, give them all my BIL’s vital statistics and THEN, they needed a PIN number. Somehow, the one I had was expired. So I asked for a new PIN which had to be snail-mailed to me. I finally convinced the representative to at least just tell me if the Medicare company was a scam. She relented and said no, it was not a scam….but that was ALL she was going to tell me until I got my new pin number.
Already, I’m exhausted. But I push forward. I go on the website. I enter every medication, every doctor and all the vital stats. Two hours later, they give me a proposal of 18 Medigap policies to compare with 26 Medicare Advantage policies and 20 Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plans to add to the comparison. For those of you who may struggle with math, that is 64 plans I should look at to compare and contrast to choose the best one for my BIL. And choose, I must, because as of May 31, 2015, they will automatically cancel his current insurance.
This got me thinking, What if this information was sent to my BIL and he had no one to help him wade through it? First of all, it’s a website. There are in fact, still some people, many of the Medicare Age Variety who are not computer savvy, hell, who don’t even have a computer. Yes, snobby Medicare helpers, everyone on the planet doesn’t have a computer. Now my BIL is very computer savvy, but he can’t really type anymore.
And he doesn’t really read anymore, because comprehension and retention elude him often. And he for sure, isn’t going to decide to read through Medicare plans as a fun hobby.
I am considered an expert in this field of Elder Law issues, including Medicare Insurance. And I completely UNDERSTAND what I’m reading. I am expected to find the nuances and loopholes in 64 different plans that best serves my BIL. And even I find this daunting.
And once I choose I am in a quandary. This special circumstance where they are cancelling his policy is considered an opportunity for open enrollment with no underwriting. In other words, nobody is looking at the fact that he has a myriad of health issues which would kick him out of any health insurance otherwise. So once I’m there, I’m never going to be able to leave without a problem.
My point is this. I’m exhausted. My severly disabled BIL, on his own would have probably missed this whole need to do this and be without health insurance. How many retirees from this major Fortune 500 company are struggling with this project? Even though it’s a great website and the advisors are pretty good at their job…I KNOW WHAT I’M DOING, AND IT’S STRESSING ME OUT. The choosing is a nightmare.
I know, three months from now I’m going to hear from the new insurance company that Oh that’s not covered, oh that has a huge copay, oh he can’t have that NEW drug that he wasn’t on when you chose this plan.
The only thing that makes me laugh now is laughter of relief. But don’t worry, I’m plotting revenge somehow and you will be the first to know!
“You just have to Laugh…..”
© 2015 Cathy Sikorski