-By Curtis. Curtis is a retired Illinois teacher.
No, as you said Medicare is not free, as some believe.
You pay for the benefit through your Social Security installments while employed and then again monthly after age 65. For many the monthly SS benefit is enough to cover the subsequent monthly Medicare installments. But some recipients will be penalized to pay an even “higher premium amount”.
While Hurricane “IRMA” rips through our nation causing catastrophic loss and suffering, another IRMAA impacts many Medicare recipients with 20 to 30% higher monthly premiums for the same coverage.
If your modified adjusted gross income is above a certain amount, (I believe its $85,000) you will pay an Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA). Medicare uses the modified adjusted gross income reported on your IRS tax return from 2 years ago (the most recent tax return information provided to Social Security by the IRS).
So at retirement, Illinois public pension recipients are penalized by the WEP (Windfall Elimination Provision) which reduces Social Security benefits up to 60%. Then at age 65 you have to pay a monthly premium for Medicare, which may be up to 30% higher than most! Based on your income.
The World we live in!
There’s not much talk about the “real problems” with healthcare in America! As you noted, a simple hearing aid (a basic need) can cost upwards of $3,000. While the cost of a simple life saving epipen has increased 500% since 2009 from $67.00 to over $1,000. Or an MRI, crucial for diagnostic and preventive measures, can cost $5,000 or more with most providers.
In conjunction with your healthcare plan you get high premiums, network limitations, drug restrictions i.e.. generic verses brand and the bonus of astronomical insurance deductibles and co-pays that must be met before your insurance benefits even kick in!
It’s important to note here that it’s one thing to have insurance coverage and another to be able to utilize it!
While professional services and procedures, hospitalization and equipment , and prescription drugs continue to skyrocket in price and diminish in quality and availability, who can really afford healthcare and actually use it?
Case in point: I sought an appointment recently with my PCP, (Primary Care Provider – no not the drug) in Skokie, IL and the earliest appointment was 3 to 4 months out. Then I sought a referral in network which once granted was 6 to 7 months out!
And until recently physicians across our nation freely prescribed ample pain killers and other metabolically altering drugs with 2 to 3 easy refills. ”Just take 2 of these and go home.” So that once you get hooked on a certain pain killer like Norco or other opioids you can easily get addicted.
A family member of mine was once told by the doctor to take up to 16 opioids a day as needed to arrest the pain even though the posted dosage was take 2 tablets 3 or 4 times daily.
16 pills! Opioid addiction is one thing. Killing your liver is another!
The main problem with health though care is its cost! There must be some controls, some limitations, to rising fees. The pharmaceutical corporations care about the dollars. Not enough emphasis is on the health and welfare of the patient.