Pass Me Your Medicare Card

November 29, 2008

When I was a kid, my best friends Frankie, Scotty, Kenyon and I would go to the high School football field a few blocks from our homes in the small town of Brea in Orange County, California to play a pickup football game.In our huddle of two, Scotty would say to me, “Hike to me on the count of three, run about five yards and turn to the right.” I would clumsily hike it over Scotty’s head and try to block Frankie. After cursing me for my terrible hike, Scotty would run back and pick up the rolling ball one step ahead of the pursuing Frankie . In the meantime, I would run a few steps forward; Kenyon would bump me to interfere with the pass. As Frankie grabbed him in the backfield, Scotty would desperately hurl the ball in the air in my direction. Kenyon and I would both fight for the wobbly ball and after we both batted the ball around clumsily, we would  we would all fall to the ground without catching the ball.
None of us made the junior high football team. None of us made the senior high football team. I did not make the college football team. I did not become a NFL player; I suspect none of my friends did either.
Not only did I lack the Terminator brawn, speed, and coordination required to be a professional football player, I also lacked the cyborg brain power to understand the complexity of NFL plays. It’s no wonder that scores of NFL football players in their spare time are taking MBA-level business classes at Harvard Business School, Wharton, and similar distinguished university business schools. Anyone who can understand a NFL playbook is probably more than competent to run the typical American investment bank.

As my wife has already stopped working for a paycheck at the age of 62, and as I will retire at the end of January, we are enrolling in Medicare, and making choices for Medicare A (hospital insurance), Medicare B (medical insurance), and deciding whether we want to sign up for Part D, the Medicare prescription drug program. We’re not sure whether there is an advantage to signing up for Part C, the Medicare Advantage plan. There may be a benefit to signing up for my retirement health plan, instead of going to a Medigap program. My wife is considering a Catastrophic Coverage program, but could for more money become a dependant on my retirement program. The above information covers perhaps page 1 of the 30-page handbook we received to help us figure out our choices.

Last night, after a pleasant and healthfully spare Thanksgiving dinner for two of turkey, gravy, cranberry sauce, peas grown in our garden, and for dessert, pumpkin pie made from a squash grown in our garden (which this year overran the zucchini from outer space in a one sided triumph of Mothra over Godzilla) , we gave thanks to each other for reaching 43 years of marriage without killing each other. (Monday was the official anniversary day).

Although we have been studying Medicare materials in bewilderment for weeks, after dinner we began reviewing everything one more time to prepare ourselves for a counseling session scheduled for Friday morning (this morning).By the time we went to bed, we were indeed close to killing each other once more.

When we met with Jack, the volunteer for the state who taught the seminar we had already attended and conducted our individual counseling session, we learned that he is neither an NFL player nor a marriage counselor, though he told us the prescriptions that keep him alive cost over $10,000 a year, only a small portion of which is covered by his Medicare drug prescription coverage.

In any case his training as a volunteer seemed equivalent to going through a NFL training camp; his experience as an elderly person who has survived serious illnesses seems equivalent to being a quarterback who has survived blitzes and sacks by NFL linebackers.

As we went through the meeting and listened to his counsel, we concluded that the choices we were making after hours of reading, listening, and study seemed reasonable and affordable (once we get used to our retirement menu of organic carrots and potatoes from the ground, organic apples from our tree, and cat food we sneak from Sylvie’s dish while Random Granddaughter is distracting her) and that the decisions most in dispute seemed headed for peaceful resolution after no more than three or four hundred more phone calls.


I left one last message on Angelica’s voice mail. Since we never seem to get close enough to her to give her any money, I can not figure out how her elusive behavior can be a scam. My conclusion is that she is a flake and that David’s advice (from whichever alter is offering the advice) to kick her to the curb is sensible.

She has until Sunday morning to call us. I fear for the future of Chile and I am sighing at starting over from scratch on Craig’s List.




8 Responses to “Pass Me Your Medicare Card”

  1. Good luck with the Medi-careless programs … they boggle the mind. My dad will be going on in May, and he’s already completely flabbergasted by the confusing choices, options, and looming disasters.

  2. spectrum2 Says:

    I cannot imagine dealing with Medicare. I have enough patience for our HMOs. I get one story here and another one there. Both the doctor and the insurance always feel that they shouldn’t have to pay, I should, but luckily, someone, somewhere, wrote down a co-pay and a deductible and mostly I can get by. But then there are the loopholes. I swear, it seems that these people just want to gouge the last dime out of each other and me! Sorry if this is senseless, I have crazy people around me right now wrestling and playing in the floor!

  3. Thanks for the wonderful information.

  4. modestypress Says:


    Going on Medicare may be what your father deserves.


    You may be what your HMO deserves.


    You are welcome. Thank you for dropping in to my peculiar blog.

  5. You have a Great Contents to enjoy.Great looking website,Very nice contents and logical. I Enjoyed my stay on your website. and really wish you all the best. GOOD LUCK!!!

  6. modestypress Says:

    All About Love,

    Thank you for visiting my blog, for your kind words, and for your best wishes.

  7. truce Says:

    It wasn’t until I arrived in Australia that I truly appreciated the UK’s NHS system. Private Healthcare and Medicare is stuff of which nightmares are made.

  8. modestypress Says:

    Every citizen in every country of the world should be required to spend a week in a country where things are worse than where they are.

    I am not sure how to finance or arrange this program, but I am a big picture and big idea person who leaves messy details to others.

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