Monday, October 01, 2012

1077 Here's Your 2013 Medicare Guide

1077 Here’s Your 2013 Medicare Guide!

Who writes the stuff you get from Medicare and Blue Cross, anyway?  They make the annual open enrollment period seem like a party, a cornucopia of new improved-ness or improved newness.  Tens of thousands of words, which if you read them will

(a) put you into a hypnotic-meditative state
(b) give you simultaneous palpitations along with your alpha and delta waves.
(c ) confuse you
(d) leave you not knowing what the changes for the coming year will amount to.

Except for the price.  Both sources will tell you what you pay now and what you will pay as of the first of the year.  Transparency.  There’s nothing like it.

No worries.  The friendly, helpful people at the toll free numbers (bring a book to read while you’re waiting for the next available whatsis) will be glad to answer your questions but can’t tell you why what is covered this year won’t be covered next.

Don’t bother asking for a supervisor.  There IS no supervision.  In fact there isn’t even any non-super vision.  What’ll happen is they’ll get billed for something you need, and a month or two later will send you a snail mail letter that tells you why they aren’t going to pay it.

Then, there’s the 2013 Formulary.  The drugs are in 16 tiers of reimbursement.  The ones you need are all on the high end.  But here’s that transparency again:  they’ll tell you that you can try a “similar” drug that is a “first tier” generic.

Never mind that your doctor has prescribed Zapalump which zaps lumps better than the generic Sasparillafy strontium citrate.  Just try the Sasparillafy strontium citrate for awhile and if that doesn’t work, they’ll put you on bicarbonate of anthracite bonafidum.  If it doesn’t work, and you’re still not dead, they’ll consider your appeal to use Zapalump, $165.38 per pill and you pay 40%.

All this stuff is in huge paperback books written and edited by people who spend 40 hours a week dealing with this stuff and who expect your familiarity and understanding to be as well seasoned and fluent as their own and who have a tone similar to that of a kindergarten teacher who hates children.

Shrapnel:

--In the second paragraph, the proofreaders among you, and you know who you are, will notice that there’s (a), (b) and (c ).  The space between “c” and “)”is not a typo.  It is a way of making the word processing program produce a “c” in parentheses instead of automatically converting it to a ©.

--Overkill at the New York Times whose publisher emeritus, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, died a few days ago at age 86.  The paper’s Sunday morning website carried the obituary as the lead story for the second consecutive day and then linked to it as the lead in the obituary, business and NY/Regions sections.  Insider tributes are fine... but, really, Times readers will notice one well placed story and don’t need all those repeats “in case you missed it,” which no one did.

I’m Wes Richards.  My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ® Please address comments to wesrichards@gmail.com
© WJR 2012

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