Saturday, September 1, 2012

Medicare is not a benefit - it's a punishment

I retired from Boeing 4 years ago with a decent pension and the ability to get health, vision, and drug coverage at a reduced group rate for pre-Medicare retirees.  The coverage was not free because I had what Boeing terms a "break in service" and I call it my sabbatical but the price was reasonable and rose pretty much with inflation (even though my pension does not).  Boeing exercises its buying power to get that price and I appreciate that I could not do better as an individual.

Well, as of today, because I become 65 on September 30th, I am on Medicare, whether I want to be or not.  The government requires it because I have taken my social security benefits.  I thought it would be no big deal - I would transfer over to the Boeing Medicare health plan and it might show a little rise in cost.  Hah was I wrong!   First off, the Boeing Medicare is a supplemental plan that reduces what coverage I already have (even taking into account Medicare coverage) and costs about $100 more a month.

Then I start getting the bad news from Medicare itself.  I knew I would be paying about $99 a month because I was taking the supplement coverage but I didn't know about the IRMAA surcharges.  They look back at your federal taxes from 2 years ago (2010) and place a surcharge if your income level is above a certain amount.  Well in 2010 I took some 401K money out to pay off some of the costs of the house renovation so I have to pay a monthly surcharge.  Yikes.  My income today is not enough close to that level.

And just to pile on the indignities,  today I find out that because I have chosen a medicare supplement plan which helps with prescription costs, I have another surcharge to pay.

Oh, and, of course, I feel better because the Social Security website says this only affects about five percent of those receiving Medicare.  [BLEEP].

I know that those individuals who hit the prescription cost "donut" hole have it much worse.  I just didn't expect that going on Medicare would double my health insurance costs and leave me with worse coverage.  I feel punished for being sensible with my money.

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