Finally. Gone. Over. Done with. Finito. Bah-humbug. What? There’s one more? Yeah, but…

My birthday is this coming Saturday. Yep. Exactly the moment when people are going, “Oh no, not another piece of cake?” kind of thing. Me too, this year. I’m really over it. My little spell of feeling poorly for three weeks knocked the stuffin’ out of me. It’s a major birthday, too, at least to the Federal Government. They’ve been announcing it to me for the past several months in hysterical — almost panicked — terms, such as,

“For the love of God and all that is holy! Be sure you’ve signed up for Medicare!”

This register was echoed by my health insurance plan,

“For the love of God and all that is holy! Be sure you’ve signed up for Medicare Parts A, B, D! You don’t need C. We’re C, see? But D! You need D! Sign up or you’ll lose your prescription drug plan! If you don’t do it now you WON’T be able to do it later!”

The sky is falling!”

So there I was in August, freaking out, online, following through and see that — what do you think? Social Security had taken care of my signing up for Medicare. They’d even told my retirement plan.

But the panic mail kept coming, and I kept mildly freaking out and double-checking. The Medicare card came. A new insurance card came. A new prescription drug card came. I thought of displaying them with other cards of the season. A giant pamphlet came — pamphlet? Book. There were some dark times, like when I thought I’d pay $$$ out of pocket (and my pockets are not deep) but my retirement plan said, “No no, we’ll make up the $130 difference” and sure enough, they have. I got my first senior citizen pay check today…

And…on another blog I wrote a comment about the “betrayal” of the body. I thought about that more. This carapace is our transportation through life, and I’ve never had a car that didn’t break down sooner or later, depending (often) on how careful I was about keeping the oil changed. Still, there was always a moment when I knew, if I were lucky, around 100,000 miles. I remember that most distinctly with my Ford Escort wagon. That was a really good car. Little and red, hauled three big dogs with ease and comfort, took some long road trips, got me to school and back. I drove that car hard. My schools were all at least 20 miles apart and often through traffic. A day came when Luis, the service writer at the Ford garage where I took my car (walking distance) said, “Martha, you need a new car.” My Escort went to live at Luis’ daughter’s house just down the street from me, and I got a shiny, new, red Ford Ranger.

The transportation into which we’re born can’t be traded in, but just like a car it’s built with hidden flaws, parts that wear out and problems in design. I suppose if it were not, we would not be willing — ever — to shake off this mortal coil and make space for others. I don’t think I would be.

“For the love of God and all that is holy! You have to acknowledge your mortality and gather the lessons of that awareness!”

I imagine all this Medicare mail and the sixty-fifth birthday brings that home to a lot of people.

8 thoughts on “Codgeress

  1. I don’t really get this Medicare thing, being an Angloswiss, is it something like Obamacare that no-one seemed to appreciate or want. I once read at the beginnings of the idea that Obama was going to base it on the Swiss system. In england everything is free, but you have to put up with what you get, according to where you live and if they are bothered. My dad was very well taken care of but he was over 90 years old and I think they were just paying respect to his age. Younger people do not have so much luck. Our insurance system is very good, not cheap, but affordable for us. It coves my MS medicine (20,000 Swiss francs a year) with no problem.

    • Medicare has been around since the 60s and it’s for people over 65. We pay into it all our working years and then when we reach 65 we “reap” the benefits. And it isn’t true that no one appreciated Obamacare or wanted it. I think many people do appreciate it and want it. The downside to it for many people is that it straddles the fence between private and public insurance. Some people’s rates went up. Mine did, but from my point of view the fact that more of my fellow citizens had health insurance and would be cared for was good for me and my health, but… I worked hard to be sure that I got health insurance benefits after I nearly lost my vision. That became a big priority for me. Mostly here they’re paid by ones company, but the company doesn’t want to pay for them so they do what they can to make sure they don’t have to, like hiring part-time teachers vs. full time. It’s awful. Obamacare is a good start and I’m sorry so many people in this country are short-sighted…

  2. Medicare is a surprisingly good senior medical plan. It doesn’t cover everything — no teeth, eyeglasses or hearing aids — but it covers hospitalization and doctor visits and most medication. Depending on the plan you choose, you may also get some added benefits. the only better medical plan is Massachussetts’ version of Medicaid (medical coverage for poor and disabled people which I had till I turned 65 and mysteriously was apparently neither poor NOR disabled) which is a fantastic program and beats out any private plan by miles.

    I second Martha. Obama’s medical plan was a significant step forward in the direction of universal medical care. I don’t mind paying a little more so other people won’t die. I don’t understand why other people object to it, either.

    • I am extremely lucky because my insurance covers teeth and glasses (glasses up to a point). I am grateful beyond expression that — a fluke! — SDSU hired me in 1999 and kept me until 2014. I get bitter at times about the end of my teaching career, but really the big stuff — which is now — is beautifully provided for. ❤

  3. I recd this mail but I am still working and my work insurance is good. But Medicare confuses the hell out of me. SS pays for A, right, so that is free? I can select C and then, of course, D. But I don’t pay separately for B and C–it is one or the other? I am going to have to go to a seminar or something to figure this whole mess out when the time comes. You sound like it works beautifully for you–which is very good news.

    • Part B is doctor visits. Part A is hospitalization. Part D is the drug plan. Medicare C is your own private health insurance plan — kind of picks up where Medicare leaves off. All of this works together with my health insurance which is part of my retirement. I’ve seen that other people have to make choices — I’m just lucky in that I don’t have to. I got more mail today…

      • I will have to and have already checked with my doctors to be sure they are all onboard. Even my eye doctor says we’ll be fine. Getting old and confused is not a good thing!

        • No it isn’t. I’ve had a lot more fun doing other things, that’s for sure. BUT I’ve had a worse time, too. What stressed me about the Medicare stuff was that it was absolutely clear and made total sense and yet they kept trying to help me. That made me doubt I’d understood — so I contacted my retirement plan and I was fine. It’s not that complicated, really.

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