Medicare isn’t enough

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 6, 2004

Editor, the News-Herald:

The Virginian Pilot reported the following in its issue on Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2004:

Social Security recipients will get and average of $25 more in their monthly checks next year, thanks to a 2.7 percent annual cost of living increase announced by the government on Tuesday.

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I hope no one is getting overly excited about this 2.7 percent annual increase. Think about it…you receive $25 additional per month, but $11.60 of that will cover the monthly increase in your Medicare Part B Premiums. Therefore, you only actually receive $13.40 more per month! That’s only $160.80 per year.

While an increase in social security benefits is greatly needed, how can seniors be expected to benefit from as little as $13.40/$160.80.?

How many of you are even away that Medicare Part B has a $100 yearly deductible? Unless you are fortunate enough to have secondary insurance that also covers this $100 deductible, then you are responsible for paying this out of your pocket to providers of service before Medicare will pay anything. This now only leaves you $60.80 extra for the year.

In most cases, with the cost of prescriptions today this benefit increase still basically leaves seniors with literally nothing. One prescription alone can and in most cases cost well over $60 per month.

What happens to those seniors that have as many as 8 prescriptions or more per month? I can tell you what happens. Most don’t take their medications because they cannot afford to pay for them. I see it everyday. Most seniors have been reduced to having to choose between which medication is the most important or they are left to choose between their medications, food or electric. Unfortunately they choose not to get their medications. Who can possibly afford to pay between $500 and $1,000 per month for prescriptions? Some just don’t go to the doctor at all.

These are people that have spent most of their lives working themselves to the bone, so that someday they would have something to call their own and possibly leave their families. Unfortunately, most end up going through their life savings by paying for medical care and medications.

Medicare does not adequately reimburse physicians for services that are rendered either. If the service rendered to you is deemed not medically necessary by Medicare, then they pay nothing and you, the patient, are left being responsible for paying the bill.

There has to be a better way to provide for our seniors. Maybe we should look more closely at recipients of Medicaid. How can someone on Medicaid afford to be living in a $100,000 home with an inground pool, drive a brand new car, afford a cell phone, afford artificial nails and tanning bed sessions? You guessed it, we the working class are paying for it!

And in the end we will all be seniors and in the end, we will all still have nothing to show for all our years of hard work.

Teresa Clifford