Pulse on the Road

Medicare… Me?

Yup. This week I turn 65, and I am officially on Medicare! It makes turning 65 a joyous event. Really!

Switching healthcare policies over to Medicare was surprisingly easy. But partly this is due to my previous work on hemophilia and healthcare. Back in 2005, we were the ones to alert the community to the “Coming Storm” in insurance. We alerted the community that choice was going to start getting restricted; you would need to accept tiers of medicine, PBMs were going to dominate, and choice of factor may no longer exist. All this in the name of healthcare cost-cutting. And it all came to be.

We took our message out on the road, in a live-action form of our newsletter PEN’s Insurance Pulse, calling the workshops Pulse on the Road. We did this for 10 years. I must say that Michelle Rice, mother of two with hemophilia and formerly with the National Hemophilia foundation was our healthcare insurance guru, and taught me so much!

Glory days! Michelle Rice, Kelly Lynn Gonzalez and Laurie Kelley

And now I get to use it. Medicare is for anyone over age 65. It’s an entitlement program; you start contributing to it when you start working, kind of a forced saving plan. It’s made up of several parts. Part A is free of cost, but has limited healthcare coverage. It covers medically necessary inpatient hospital care (including rooms, meals, general nursing and drugs), skilled nursing facility care, some nursing home care (if following an inpatient hospital stay) and hospice care.

Part B is optional but I strongly urge everyone to get it; it doesn’t cost that much per month as an add on. It covers: medically necessary doctor services; outpatient medical care; durable medical equipment; some preventive care and other medically necessary services Part A doesn’t cover, such as ambulance services; cardiovascular, cancer and diabetes screenings; and laboratory services. Pretty important stuff, especially as you age.

Part D covers prescription drugs.

Our community is aging, which is good news! But people with hemophilia from previous generations, now in their 60s and 70s will have health issues, such as joint deterioration. It really pays to advocate, ask lots of questions and learn more about Medicare. You can enroll during the month you turn 65, but you should start researching it and apply for it three months before that. Go to https://www.medicare.gov/ to learn how to apply.

Until then, enjoy your youth! And stay on top of all insurance, Medicare or not.

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