Topretirements Members to Washington: Medicare Is a Great Program – Keep It That Way!

Category: Health Issues

November 4, 2012 — Note: This is Part 2 of our Medical Insurance for Retirement Series. See Further Reading at end for links to Part 1 and 3.
The result of last month’s member survey about Medicare are in. We are pleased that you have ideas on a plan to fix Medicare, something that differentiates you from our elected leaders in Washington. When asked to rank your ideal fix from a list of 9 choices, limiting benefits to the most affluent was the number 1 choice, closely followed by 4 others (see detailed results below). Vouchers and lifetime benefit caps were the least popular choices in the survey. Elsewhere in the survey results, most of our responders have opted in to Medicare and its component parts. The sole exception is Part C (Medicare Advantage), where more folks are not in the program than are.

We are so grateful to the more than 550 people who took to the time to answer our 9 questions about Medicare. While we can’t say that any of the findings are particularly surprising, the results do shed valuable light on participation rates on Parts A-D, likes and dislikes about the program, and concerns about the program’s future. By far the most interesting results were your preferences on how to fix the Medicare program for the future. Shown below are the findings for each of the 9 survey questions.

Participation Rates by Medicare Part
The majority of the responders to this survey are currently enrolled in Medicare (51% yes vs. 34% who are not, and 11% who will be on the plan within 12 months).

Most choose or intend to choose Part B, the part that covers doctors’ visits, etc., (71% Yes, 6% No, 18% undecided).

The stew gets a little thicker when it comes to Part C (Medicare Advantage). Those saying they were not in the plan outnumbered those were in it (38% No compared to 22% Yes, with 35% undecided).

The Prescription Drug component of Medicare (Part D) is chosen more often than not, with 44% in the plan compared to 28% who are not (23% are undecided).

One of the survey questions we were most interested in seeing the answers to was whether or not you have been told by medical providers that they will not accept Medicare. Here are the results:
Never been denied 39%
Yes, but only rarely 8%
Yes, occasionally 8%
Yes, frequently 5%

From this we could conclude that Medicare turndowns are not now a serious problem. But there were a number of comments that indicate there is serious concern for the future: some patients have been told that their doctors will only honor Medicare for existing patients, while a few others have been told that they will have to find a new doctor when the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) goes into effect.


Preferred Solution to fixing Medicare
If our members were controlling the Congress we are confident you could promptly fix Medicare to make this popular program safe for the current and following generation. One could argue that the highest ranked choices in our survey tend to shift costs and pain to someone else (since most of respondents are already in the program), but at least they are solutions. Your number 1 fix would be to limit benefits to higher income beneficiaries (weighted rank of 4.38). Following that solution are 4 more with almost identical ranks ranging from 4.91 to 4.96): replace fee for services with outcome based payments, raise payroll taxes, raise eligibility age, and use private companies to increase competition.

The overwhelming most unpopular way to fix Medicare in the survey was to put a lifetime cap on benefits. But there were 3 other poorly rated solutions that no one would be much surprised to see – reducing payments for some services (5.49), going to a Voucher system (5.98), and lifetime benefit caps (6.77). One choice we wished we had included in the survey was, “Raise Medicare premium rates to make it solvent”, but we are guessing that wouldn’t have been a popular choice.

What You Like Best About Medicare
We were delighted to have received 430 comments on what our readers like best about Medicare. Most of those comments had to do with liking its low cost or being grateful to have such a good and easy to use program. These are the most common comments we received; where possible we included actual quotes from typical responses:
– Low cost – “affordable insurance I couldn’t otherwise have”
– “Considering everything it offers, how could I complain”
– Peace of mind – “I know I am covered”
– Simplicity and ease of use
– “Lack of paperwork”
– Universal coverage
– “No questions service anywhere in the country”
– Taking care of our elderly
– “I paid for it”
– Fair

What You Like Least About Medicare
There were 423 comments on what you Like Least About Medicare. There were several main themes in the negatives mentioned about the program: fraud and waste, its complexity, and fear that more doctors will start to decline Medicare patients. There were quite a few concerns that the program covers people who didn’t pay into the program (we are not sure who these people are – probably mostly non-working spouses of recipients – since illegal aliens aren’t covered and the poor are covered by Medicaid).

– “Fraud and waste” (abuses by patients, doctors, hospitals, and equipment providers)
– “Bureaucracy”
– Worries “the plan won’t always be there”
– “Complexity” of the program and what to choose
– That so many people are covered who have not earned it
– Not all doctors participate and it could get worse
– Some things not covered (dental, vision, hearing aids, while others not covered enough (some services are only 80% covered)
– “Forced to enroll”
– Copays
– “Run by the government”

Bottom Line
By and large the comments we received indicate Medicare is a popular program, one worth preserving. People are very concerned about fraud and waste, which many seem to have personal experience seeing.

The Winners: We promised that we would draw 2 names to receive a copy of Jan Cullinane’s new book, “The Single Woman’s Guide to Retirement”, or Lucy Burdette’s “Death in Four Courses”. The winner of Jan’s book was Mizmartha; Christina won Lucy’s new cozy mystery.

For further reference:
Part 1 Medicare 101 – So You Are Turning 65, Your Guide to Medicare
Part 3 What to Do about Medical Insurance When You Retire Early
Checklist: 6 Things to Do When You Start Medicare
8 Things to Consider When Choosing or Changing Your Coverage
Medicare.gov
Medicare FAQs
Healthcare.gov – a great government resource for answering questions and helping you find health insurance

More Topretirements Surveys
Retirement Housing Preferences
Good News: Topretirements Members Very Confident about Retirement

Posted by John Brady on November 4th, 2012

69 Comments »

  1. […] you can both rest easy and make more intelligent choices. Our second article in this series. “Topretirements Members to Washington: We Like Medicare, Please Keep it Working!“, reports on the results of our recent member survey on […]

    by » So You’re Turning 65: Your Medicare Guide 101 Topretirements — November 4, 2012

  2. Dear Members: This suggestion came in from frequent contributor Old Nassau. We love his fresh insights and opinions, this one is a good example:

    My suggestion is to not “Raise the eligibility Age” but
    “Restore the eligibility Span” until we approach the original life
    expectancy parameters at 65 when Medicare was first established in
    1965.
    Let me explain: (all data from http://www.ssa.gov/oact/tr/2010/lr5a4.html)
    (1) In 1965, for those who were 65 years of age, life expectancy was
    13.5(M) 18.0(F)
    (2) In 2012, for those who are 65 years of age, life expectancy is
    18.3(M) 20.6(F).
    (3) In other words,a Medicare eligible person’s life expectancy has
    increased 4.8 years for men; 2.6 years for women.
    (4) So, my first step would be to phase in the eligibility age by 2.6
    years. Let Congress and actuaries argue about the speed of the
    increase.
    (5) Lets say the 2.6 increase takes ten years. According to the tables
    (which are themselves predictions), life expectancies will be 19.0(M)
    21.2(F).
    If necessary, the eligibility span can then be restored by increases
    of (up to) .6 years.

    by Old Nassau — November 7, 2012

  3. Fraud and waste exist in the insurance industry as a whole. Sometimes perpetrated by doctors, patients, or both. You just don’t hear as much about it with private insurance companies, because they’re private. Insurance companies don’t care if medical costs go up. They just raise your premiums. They can’t lose, and they make billions off of our healthcare. There’s nothing wrong with Medicare being run by the government, as long as they provide a good service at an efficient cost. They do need to save money, and they could do so if there weren’t a law on the books since 1968 that prohibits Medicare from negotiating lower drug costs. The VA can negotiate with the drug companies, and they save billions. It’s estimated that Medicare could save over $20 billion a year. Now, if only our representatives weren’t bought and paid for by the drug industry.

    by JohnL — November 8, 2012

  4. Amen to that, John L! That’s what’s wrong with our country, all our representatives are bought and paid for. We need to get the money out of politics!

    by Linda — November 9, 2012

  5. I can tell you in Washington, DC that Medicare is often not accepted. As a nurse advocate ,my friends contact me to help find them GYN care, Internal Medicine and Family Practitioners and those docs who specialize in Geriatric care. It is VERY difficult to find a doctor who will take Medicare patients. The only doctors here who do will only deal with their existing patients and they have to have had a long term relationshipthat means commerical insurance before turning 65 and then getting on Medicare. I feel that everyone should have Medicare coverage and I mean everyone–then the government must insist that doctors accept Medicare as a condition for a license. Nurse Practitioners are one alternative to the problem. They often given better care, spend more time with the patient, and accept all types of insurance. Also, they charge much less.

    by Jennifer — November 9, 2012

  6. Another thought since I live in Washington, DC–how about putting our representatives on the inurance plans that the deem necessary for the rest of us and get rid of their Gold standard of care. I saw how wonderful the care was for Gabriel Giffords and I am thrilled at her progress, however I also wonder how many average Americans get that type of care.

    by Jennifer — November 9, 2012

  7. […] to Previous Surveys Medicare Survey Best and Worst Things About Your Retirement Your Bucket Lists Are Amazing Top Concerns about […]

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  8. This comment was actually made by MJ Hazo to another Blog post – we reposted it here to be on topic.

    MJ Hazo
    Also as to the comments about “Obamacare” etc., please be aware that most people have been led to believe it is some awful killing and medically depriving program but look at the individual components of the ACA:

    A. The benefits are:

    1. SMALL BUSINESS TAX CREDITS– Offers tax credits to small businesses to make employee coverage more affordable. Tax credits of up to 35 percent of premiums will be immediately available to firms that choose to offer coverage. Effective beginning for calendar year 2010. (Beginning in 2014, the small business tax credits will cover 50 percent of premiums.)
    2. BEGINS TO CLOSE THE MEDICARE PART D DONUT HOLE– Provides a $250 rebate to Medicare beneficiaries who hit the donut hole in 2010. Effective for calendar year 2010. (Beginning in 2011, institutes a 50% discount on brand-name drugs in the donut hole; also completely closes the donut hole by 2020.)
    3. FREE PREVENTIVE CARE UNDER MEDICARE– Eliminates co-payments for preventive services and exempts preventive services from deductibles under the Medicare program. Effective beginning January 1, 2011.
    4. HELP FOR EARLY RETIREES– Creates a temporary re-insurance program (until the Exchanges are available) to help offset the costs of expensive health claims for employers that provide health benefits for retirees age 55-64. Effective 90 days after enactment
    5. ENDS RESCISSIONS– Bans health plans from dropping people from coverage when they get sick. Effective 6 months after enactment.
    6. NO DISCRIMINATON AGAINST CHILDREN WITH PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS– Prohibits health plans from denying coverage to children with pre-existing conditions. Effective 6 months after enactment. (Beginning in 2014, this prohibition would apply to all persons.)
    7. BANS LIFETIME LIMITS ON COVERAGE– Prohibits health plans from placing lifetime caps on coverage. Effective 6 months after enactment.
    8. BANS RESTRICTIVE ANNUAL LIMITS ON COVERAGE– Tightly restricts new plans’ use of annual limits to ensure access to needed care. These tight restrictions will be defined by HHS. Effective 6 months after enactment. (Beginning in 2014, the use of any annual limits would be prohibited for all plans.)
    The Congressional Budget Office, which is non-partisan, projected that the bill will cost $940 billion over the first 10 years and reduce the deficit by $130 billion during that period. In the second 10 years — so, 2020 to 2029 — it will reduce the deficit by $1.2 trillion. The legislation will cover 32 million Americans, or 95 percent of the legal population.

    by Admin — March 26, 2013

  9. Amen MJ! Once people actually experience the benefits they are going to have a very different view of things. There’s plenty of room for improvement, but it’s a good step in the right direction.

    @Jennifer, I know you posted long ago and will probably never see this, but Amen to your comments as well. Nurse Practitioners are the best thing going in Health Care today and a good model for how we could improve the system.

    As for those worried about Doctors not accepting Medicare patients. It may be true in a few very rich areas like Washington DC, but in most parts of the country it will never happen. Why? Because, over the next 20-30 years 80% of their business will be Medicare patients. Thank the Baby Boomers! Smart HC companies are already trying to figure out how to deliver efficient, good care to this population and will make good, reasonable profits doing so. Dumb companies still trying to milk our for-profit HC system will gradually decline with time (and good riddance!). So mote it be!

    Here’s to a better life for us all!

    by Bron — June 7, 2013

  10. It’s not a question of not accepting, but not accepting NEW Medicare patients.

    by Elaine — June 8, 2013

  11. Don’t be foolish, read all 500 pages of this bill. Many physicians that I worked with are leaving their practice as a PCP and going into specialties such as plastic surgery, to avoid (the new) rules, and this is just the beginning. The care for the elderly under this program is not good for baby boomers.

    by Healthcare provider — June 8, 2013

  12. Of course Universal Health Care would have been preferable to the Affordable Care Plan, but as others have said, at least it’s a start in the right direction. Don’t we all remember what a major struggle it was to get even this bill passed?
    I live in Massachusetts, where MassHealth is sometimes referred to as the prototype of the ACP. Let me tell you we are getting along just fine. I have care I wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford, a great doctor, and even dental care (which I never had under the staggeringly expensive health insurance I paid for prior to MassHealth).
    It’s the one good legacy Mitt Romney left us. Yes, I said Mitt Romney.

    by Judith — June 8, 2013

  13. Hi Bron:

    Thanks for your comments and Healthcare Provider I agree with you. Those who read these boards know that it is harder to find a doctor who will take on new Medicare patients. This is North and South Carolina and Washington, DC. I disagree that docs will have to take Medicare. I it is too expensive in the wealthier areas of our country it is more so in the less well off areas. That is why to be viable all age groups should be able to participate and then the payment rates could be adjusted accordingly to Primary Care physicians. Here inn DC many PCPs are going to Concierge medicine. I am a nurse with an internal medicine group and we do not participate in Medicare or Tricare. IN fact we only take one major insurance plan and that is the PPO for Care first blue Cross. Of course all of us would love to have Medicare as it is cheap coverage with no exclusions or copays. The 80/20 percentages are low and secondary insurance often picks up the balance. What

    by Jennifer — June 8, 2013

  14. I live in upstate New York, and have personally experienced difficulties in getting any local primary care/internists to take on my elderly aunt when i had to move her here for her care. Oncology was not an issue. In fact, our local Office for the Aging has identified lack of medical providers accepting Medicare for new patients (and sometimes for others) as a major problem in our rural area. So I think it will probably get worse before it gets better. I’m thinking of switching to a younger doc just so he doesn’t “age out” of his practice before I do! But then, more and more younger docs are also not necessarily staying in the field. It’s not for sissies…

    by Paula — June 9, 2013

  15. Bron: (I think) you are absolutly wrong about your staement “It may be true in a few very rich areas like Washington DC, but in most parts of the country it will never happen.” I live in Louisville, Kentucky and it is near impossible to find a PCP to take a NEW medicare patient…Here you better have a strong referral from a doctor friend and sometimes that won’t get it… Talk to our doctors and many are leaving the field are very upset over the Obama plan and we do see several doctors mine included going to Concierge medicine.. just terrible..

    by paul — June 10, 2013

  16. Thanks to all who have enlightened me about my future (in 2 years) challenges in trying to find a doctor who will take new Medicare patients. I am planning to relocate to the TN/NC area sometime within the next 2 – 3 years. I am reading that doctors are not taking on new Medicare patients. Does anyone have experience with doctors not treating current patients who turn 65? Your responses may encourage me to relocate before I turn 65 in order to establish medical care. Thanks to all who take the time to share their experiences so generously – I really enjoy these blogs.

    by Sunny — June 16, 2013

  17. Bron and MJ
    I’ve been in healthcare for over 30 years and Obama care it hitting hard. Everyday more PCP’s in our rural area are not accepting medicare patients. The baby boomers will be hit hardest with this, as we are going to have a hard time finding doctors to treat us. It is frightening and I never thought I would see this in our country. Doctors are taking a stand and refusing to allow the government to tell them how to treat a patient, so they refuse the “government’s patients” (Medicare).

    by MARILYN — June 17, 2013

  18. Medicare has been around a long time and is not a creation of Obamacare. I am not so sure that refusal of medicare patients is because of the new healthplan.

    by Bill — June 17, 2013

  19. I agree Bill. Refusal of Medicare patients has nothing to do with Obamacare. Doctors are unhappy about the rates they are paid for medicare patients. Its as simple as that. I live in Houston (NE of the city in the suburbs). I am on Medicare and have a family physician, a cardiologist, a dermatologist and a gynecologist. I see all – except cardiologist – once a year. I’ve had no problem finding a doctor who takes Medicare, nor do I have a problem being seen/making an appointment. p.s. government does NOT tell docs how to treat a patient. Neither Obamacare nor Medicare is involved in treatment. So please lets leave the politics and fear out of the discussion. If you are worried about your current Doc taking Medicare – call and ask if they take Medicare now. They will probably continue if they do it today.

    by sheila — June 17, 2013

  20. Marilyn where are you?

    by RUBYTUESDAY — June 17, 2013

  21. Sheila, most are not worried about their current doctors. however, it can be difficult finding a new doctor when one moves. It is just another thing to consider when considering a new area. If you are staying put (not an option for me) you are probably fine especially if you doc is on the younger side.

    by Elaine — June 17, 2013

  22. I truly believe it is all about where one lives whether the doctors will accept Medicare patients or not. While the Affordable Care Act does play into much of it, it is not the only reason why some doctors are leaving their practices. The cost of insurance for doctors has sky rocketed; many cannot afford it. Too many lawsuits against the doctors are the reason for their insurance premiums going up. We live in a ligitious society and this is what we get. However, I did receive a letter last summer from the healthcare company as well as the university where my daughter was in attendance explaining why the cost of the insurance was doubling. In 2012, they stated it was due to the Affordable Care Act-and this was a university in New York. I found this odd because the ACA was not supposed to go into affect until 2014?? Anyway, she transferred back to Texas and this was not the case. The cost of Health Insurance at Texas State remains the same…so far. So, of course it is geography, but why? I do not know. So, do your homework! My husband and I will be moving to South Carolina to better air and I am trying to find out about the healthcare in The Grand Strand of South Carolina.

    by DianaF — June 18, 2013

  23. Elaine: yes if you’re moving, I agree that not knowing whether physicians in the new locale will take Medicare could be unnerving. If you go onto the Medicare website it can help to determine which docs and how many in each geographic are a will take it
    DianaF: clearly from the example you give the Affordable Care Act has nothing to do with docs accepting Medicare patients. Docs may use that as an excuse, but its just that. Insurance companies will set the rates under ACA and will have to compete in a transparent fashion. As well, they are being forced to set rates that are based in more service to patients rather than padding their admin. Costs into the premiums. This will be required – and more – beginning in 2014, when “Obamacare” is fully implemented. I urge all consumers to become familiar with ACA before 2014. That way we will know what insurance companies can and can not do under this new law. The Government has not, in the past, done a good job of educating the public on ACA. This is getting better and I’m certain by Fall this year you’ll be able to get details in an easy to understand format.

    by Sheila — June 18, 2013

  24. I just got an email from my health insurance company telling me that they will be mailing me a packet explaining how ACA will affect my coverage. I live in the Chicago area, was deemed by three insurance companies as ‘uninsurable’ and am now covered under ICHIP (Illinois Comprehensive Health Insurance Plan) that is carried by BCBS. Other states have similar prograqms for those deemed uninsurable. ICHIP may go away because with ACA, it may not be needed since everyone with pre-existing conditions will be able to get health insurance.
    BTW – a side note: could never understand why health insurance companies don’t cover pre-existing conditions – you’d think that they would cover ailments/conditions that are known rather than those that are not!
    Thanks again to all who contribute to this blog.

    by Sunny — June 19, 2013

  25. Diane,

    I think physicians have become more and more disillusioned with being doctors as it becomes more of a job about doing paper work than healing. Our family doctor has been complaining about dealing with insurance in general, and recently gave notice that he was leaving the practice. He doesn’t want to be a bureaucrat. It’s not just about medicare, that is just a degree worse and less well paid hassle than the general hassle they put up with. This will be a wide spread problem.

    by Julie — June 20, 2013

  26. I live in a semi-rural area just west of Richmond, VA and I have been using this family practice office for over 20 years. They are not talking about not taking NEW Medicare patients, they are talking about taking NO Medicare patients. My PCP does not know yet what will happen, but said that ‘they’ (the entire practice) are hoping that ‘IT’ will be defunded so they can continue to give the same level of care to everyone. She said that she will not practice being told what she can and cannot do in order to give the best medical care to her patients. I have worked for many doctors and I have never heard the ‘despair’ I hear now.
    Two years ago BEFORE they cut the rates for medical care, my surgeon was paid less than 40% of the charges for a very intensive, delicate, long spinal surgery. In fact, he was paid so little, I was embarrassed, and I apologized for the government payment.
    Medicare has been affected by the ACA since it was Medicare and Social Security funds that were used to set up the plan. Many physicians are going onto a ‘cash only’ basis, not participating with any insurance, thus getting ‘around’ the rules and from what I read, and I did skim parts that were not of interest to seniors, there will be no ‘penalty’ for ‘cash only’. Thus, care WILL be available for those who can afford it, however what happens if hospitals begin to offer this service too? Just became the law says one thing now, does not mean that it will say the same thing even tomorrow! … and frankly, do you trust the gov’t with your medical records, or more frightening, the IRS?
    Frankly, I am relieved that I cannot live too much longer, but I fear for my children and grandchildren.

    by Diane — June 21, 2013

  27. Give me a freakin break Diane, embarrassed because a doctor was paid so ‘little’. You sound like someone who does’nt pay much out of pocket.

    by Billy — June 21, 2013

  28. Billy: I’m with you. Medicare and ACA funding are NOT related. The ACA is legislation NOT health care. The ACA LAW provides Americans with access to health care they could not get previous to Jan. 1/14 by making the system more competitive and offering less expensive insurance options to those on a low to medium income. It disallows Insurers from denying patients with pre-existing conditions. It disallows Insurers from kicking people out of their insurance because they are too sick for too long. It ensures Insurers are using their premiums to pay Docs for care rather than taking the larger share for their own administrative costs and shareholders. these are just a few of the “rules” of the ACA – effective Jan. 1/14. I agree that the Medicare rates need to improve. I also agree that Doctors spend an inordinate amount of time filling out forms – for both Insurance companies and Medicare. Then the rest of the time is often spent trying to get them to approve the care Docs want to provide. I think this eats up their income by their need to have sufficient staff to keep up with all this on a daily basis. But to suggest that they aren’t being paid very well is just not credible. I do not fear for my children and grandchildren. The future looks bright for all Americans with the ACA in place – as we try to ensure we can obtain the care we need without fear of being cast aside by a system that is only interested in profit.

    by sheila — June 21, 2013

  29. Out of eight doctors that I have seen recently at a major hospital all but one will not take Medicare or Medicaid patients. That one exception was a neurosurgeon who was paid directly by the hospital to pump out as many surgeries as possible. It can take months to find a PCP to cover you as an under 65 patient.
    The reality is here. It takes three months plus lead time for a colonoscopy appointment and that was only because my PCP is also a GI specialist. Physicals take upwards of six months and emergency/urgent appointments 1-2 weeks. We all would have been better off if employers did not start providing medical care(insurance) in lieu of raises during WW2 due to the government restrictions on salary raises. We need to manage our own health care and get our heads out of the sand.

    by Paul — August 27, 2013

  30. Diane, Spinal surgery in Boston $55,000. for us – for the insurance company the end charge was just over $13,000. It would help if charges were standardized so individuals would pay the same as the insurance companies, or at least be able to negotiate the rates themselves.
    My POP charges $660 per hour for office visits. There are actually two rates $220 for 20 minutes or les and $440 for 40 minutes or less. GI procedures at a 6 per day minimum yield far greater profit. Even with the business/medical overhead it’s not a bad living. In this location it’s a multi-million dollar business – what is enough?

    by Paul — August 27, 2013

  31. I hadn’t seen your comment before, but Sheila, I’m with you.

    by Judith Keefer — August 28, 2013

  32. I don’t know why people persist in spreading misinformation about the ACA. The government is not involved in treatment. As far as the poor doctors go, I don’t know where they are.

    by easilyamused — August 28, 2013

  33. Billy, Sheila, and Easily Amused,
    I agree with all of you 100%~ The ACA is a good sound plan and is working and will be better than the status quo was. We in good hands here and there is nothing to fear. Take a deep breath, everyone. We are all good and hang in, Diane, things aren’t that intolerable.

    by Betsy — August 28, 2013

  34. Billy –
    Actually I do not pay any out-of-pocket, however I have paid dearly for the privilege! I became a widow at the age of 22 when my first love, my college sweetheart, a Army 1st Lt. Airborne Ranger, was killed in Sept 1965 – I had a 3 1/2 yr. old son and a 6 mo. old daughter, and was pregnant! Unfortunately I lost the baby about 4 wks. later. However, the tear stained flag from his coffin is now with our son.
    I remarried back into the Army – as the daughter of a career Navy officer, it was all I knew and I loved the life, and we dragged our children (later there were 4) from one post to another, but enjoyed living in Europe at the time the American $ was worth something… however 13 suitcases later my husband was off on a 13 no. hardship tour, and this time I had 3 children. I kept myself busy (right!) as vice-chairman of the Red Cross volunteers at Ft. Benning (I had been chairman and training chairman in Germany) and organized the first ever ‘walk against breast cancer’ by walking and handing out leaflets in post housing – also organized the volunteer program for the newborn nursery. Oh, I did ‘play’ with the other ‘waiting wives’ when we played bridge once a month!
    Yes, I feel as if I, and another other service wife has earned the right to our not-quite-free (we pay for our Medicare and some Rx meds) medical care, after all ‘free for life’ had been promised and what we do have was hard fought for by other career servicemen and wives.
    Can’t wait to hear what others have to say to this one.

    by Diane — August 30, 2013

  35. Got a letter in the mail yesterday from my insurance company.
    It states
    Three years ago, the ACA was signed into law. As a result, significant changes will take effect in 2014 and we want you to know how they will affect you. “Your premiums will not remain the same, they MAY be less than the anticipated HIGHER premiums of new plans due to the ACA requirements”.

    by Marilyn — August 31, 2013

  36. […] For further reading Results of Topretirements poll about Medicare […]

    by » With Big Deadline Just Days Away, 7 Things Baby Boomers Need to Know About Obamacare Topretirements — September 23, 2013

  37. I’m not sure why anyone would object to legislation that sets controls on the health insurance industry. Health care and pharmaceutical companies support the largest lobbies in Washington, D.C. Check out the annual reports for both health insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies. They are doing just fine! Super fine. As for doctors….cry me a river. I personally haven’t met any poor or disadvantaged doctors. If I miss an appointment, without 24 hours notice, I am charged. If I shw up and have to wait 90 minutes..,which happens frequently…I get nothing. Even when I showed up and my doctor had an emergency and was unavailable…I got nothing. People going into medicine have a choice of career; they signed up for it. It’s not like they didnt know the state of health care. We are all in this together. I think the ACA has done a good job of trying to balance interests.

    by Ginger — March 27, 2014

  38. Hi Ginger are you in Arizona now. How is it going?

    by svenska````` — March 28, 2014

  39. Ginger you are sooooo right of what you saying

    by chris dedes — March 28, 2014

  40. I prefer the Liberty to do and choose as I please. “obamacare” will degenerate into chaos. France is broke, Canada has to reduce benefits to keep afloat, many canadians come here for treatment they have waited months for in Canada. We have relatives in England have come here repeatedly for treatment denied there. No thanks. Our system is not perfect, it could be made much better, but is still better than national “healthcare”.

    by Jeff — March 28, 2014

  41. Jeff, You are absolutely correct. Obamacare is a disaster which will destroy American medicine and bankrupt the country if it is not repealed soon!

    by Tony Conte — March 29, 2014

  42. The government running our health care system is scary. My sister with 34 years as a govt employee found out 2 years ago she is in the wrong retirement system. The govt has been working on her case for 2 years with no end in site. She has taken control and trying to get things to happen. She is eligible to retire but cannot. She requested all of her W2s from different agencies that she worked for over the years. Finally received part of them. Guess what wrong social security number on her W2s. Very upsetting. My response to her was and the government is going to run our health care system. Like I said scary. To top it off. The IRS. What a disaster is right.

    by Vickie — March 29, 2014

  43. OBAMACARE is the best thing since sliced bread!!! It allowed me to retire early by paying a little over $200 per month with a $1250 out of pocket maximum per year.

    by Rich — March 30, 2014

  44. Hi Kids,
    Errors are very human, as we all know, those of us who are human. 😀 I know that includes us all. I am delighted that someone, President Obama, had the courage to get the Affordable Care Act (ACA) enforced and is the law. Our country needs laws which protect ALL the people. Yay for Obama Care. :lol::lol::lol: Elizabeth~

    by Elizabeth ~ — March 30, 2014

  45. I’m in a little different situation perhaps, with kids still in grad school and college as I’m approaching retirement age. One kid has had a few hospitalizations recently, and is having a slow recovery. The provisions of the ACA which let me keep my kids on my insurance until age 26 are a blessing. I’m also grateful for the provisions that will let me find cheaper coverage if I get laid off (I’ve been told by people who were laid off recently that family COBRA with my Fortune 500 company is $1,200 per month). It’s a relief to know that my kid’s preexisting medical condition will not prevent me from getting full coverage. Yay for Obama Care.

    by Sharon — March 31, 2014

  46. March 31, 2014 – The Wall St. Journal reported today the Kaiser Family Foundation’s study that most Medicare recipients are experiencing good access to their doctors and specialists, and that most doctors (91%) are accepting new Medicare patients. 88% were usually or always able to schedule timely appointments. http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304914904579437622423474150

    by Editor — March 31, 2014

  47. Could we possibly leave our comments informative.
    I did not join here to be belittled or being called a kid but to educate myself.

    Thank you

    by Godsgirl — March 31, 2014

  48. 😎 Good morning, all! I am always happy to see help for those less fortunate, financially-wise, than others. It is all well & good to ‘pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps’ which is a saying I’ve heard often from hard-working people, but really, has anyone actually done that? We all need help or assistance throughout our lives – whether it be money or a decent, reliable babysitter or daycare, a great doc, a helpful & caring nurse, an excellent teacher — whatever opinion I like to offer about any subject, I prefer to ‘think it through’ before commenting. And I’m sure the person using the term ‘kid’ meant it in a funny or light-hearted way – not as an insult. JMO

    by jeannec — March 31, 2014

  49. I thought this blog was about helping people find their best place to retire. Where does the Affordable Care Act help me in finding a best place to retire.
    Lets try and stick to the subject please.:wink:

    by Gary — March 31, 2014

  50. Gary….I agree. I was not going to go there but I did. Need to leave things like this alone. We are going to the VILLAGES in Fl in m
    May to check it out again. Went last year and want to take another look. Stonecrest is across the street and we are really interested in visiting there as well we know people who moved there from the Villages. Would like to know if anyone has any info about Stonecrest.
    Thanks

    by Vickie — March 31, 2014

  51. Actually the theme of this particular blog is maintaining Medicare as the great program it is.

    by Bubbajog — March 31, 2014

  52. Touche Bubbajog….:smile:

    by Gary — April 1, 2014

  53. For those of us moving, try healthgrades.com and enter the location you are considering. A list of doctors with stars and reviews appears by specialty. Click on a doctor and it will tell you the types of insurance accepted and whether or not they are accepting new patients. There are other websites that do similar searches for you. It only took me a few minutes to feel reassured that we will be fine with medicare in SC. It is also helpful to check on the local hospitals to see what types of insurance and supplemental plans are acceptable. Like many folks out there, my husband is still working to provide the company healthcare, but as soon as he retires, we are on our own! Hoping to eliminate any big surprises!

    by SandyZ — April 1, 2014

  54. My last comment on the medical community….I have a close friend who is an M.D. He works as a ‘hospitalist’. He wants to spend a lot of time with his kids so he works 1 week per month. He supports a family of four quite comfortably by working one week a month. I think doctors are doing ok.

    I start Medicare in August, so am staying with my private crappy, expensive insurance till then just because it is easier. Looking forward to Medicare. Was hoping this thread would provide more info on Medicare.

    by Ginger — April 1, 2014

  55. Ginger, it is the medical assistants, LPNs, receptionists, low level administrators, hospital cafeteria workers, hospital janitors etc. that can suffer. Further, if the better qualified workers go to other industries there is potential that patients might suffer as well.

    I started Medicare part B when I “retired in self defense”, so I was lucky in timing.

    by Elaine — April 1, 2014

  56. Moved toDel Webb Chaarleston last year and had no problems finding a new Doctor who accepts Tricare and Medicare.

    by Kathy — April 1, 2014

  57. Like most things in life, the answer to “Will you find a doc who accepts Medicare?” is: it depends. Overall, a little more than 2/3 of physicians do; in Mississippi, however, fewer than half of primary physicians do. As I noted in an earlier post, my primary physician would accept Medicare, but ONLY if you had been a patient prior to going on Medicare. Here’s an article from USA Today about it (March 30, 2014): http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/03/30/in-miss-medicaid-patients-struggle-to-find-doctors/7069595/

    by Jan Cullinane — April 2, 2014

  58. That USA Today article refers to Medicaid, not Medicare. These are 2 very different programs. Medicaid is for the indigent (Welfare) and Medicare is a medical program for those 65 years and older.

    by Elaine Scott — April 2, 2014

  59. The number for Medicare is about 80% of Doctors across the USA accept Medicare.

    by Bubbajog — April 2, 2014

  60. Obamacare has worked out great for me!! I retired at 60 and for three years could only get a lousy health policy, for over $500 per month. Now with Obamacare, I have a much better policy, for only $100 per month. Forget the politics and check out Obamacare – it is great!!!

    by Darrel Jaeger — April 8, 2014

  61. The ACA aka Obamacare has also been great for me. My son gets to stay on my policy. As promised my policy hardly changed at all and I kept all of my doctors.

    by Mike Sinark — April 9, 2014

  62. Hello Godsgirl,
    I am sorry that you were offended by the remark I made when I said ‘Hi Kids’, It i a friendly term used in colleges and by professors all the time. Please do not be offended becaue I, too am a Divine Being of God, and I certainly never meant that as an insult to anyone. I love kids and believe in ‘Child-Like’ things that make us all happy. I look at it as a term of endearment.
    I do believe that my comment was informative. Hope you can ever forgive me.
    Lovingly, Elizabeth in NY~

    by Elizabeth in NY — April 11, 2014

  63. HELLO People,
    How are we doing in finding some decent, lovely to look at, beautifully furnished homes on a Budget, which is rather low becuase of my husband being
    Air Force Retired, as well as the US Navy after 23 years of service around the world and on the High Seas in the North Atlantic, Germanym, Turkey, etc. I suppose that sounds out of the question, but since he has been quite ill, the costs have been prohibitive. I do not like the Hot and Humid Flordia. If you all like it, that is great. Is definitely is not for me. I have lived in Florida on Merritt Island, and hot and humid is not my cup of tea. My famiy are in NY and PA, so still looking for an affordable place to live and really enjoy our life. Thanks for any input.:mrgreen: Please, there must be somehwhere. I would consider a Mobile Home Village and have seen some very beautiful ones that actually are great inside and out. I have lived on a golf course, even though I am not a golfer. My parents lived on a gold course. It is beautiful scenery,but ewhy pay for the upkeep and management of a beautiful golf course, if we are not going to use it. I ejoy working out and the Fitness Centers.
    Let me know if you discover the nearly impossible.:mrgreen:

    Thanks all, and how about Wheeling, West Virginia. I do believe that WVA has been beaten up a lot by people who are not really informed. It is a truly beautiful state.

    Tke care all and Happy Looking!
    Love from Elizabeth in NY~

    by Elizabeth in NY — April 11, 2014

  64. As far as Medicare is concerned be careful. I dropped my employer coverage this year and went under my wife’s plan thru her employer while signing up for Medicare part B. Got my Medicare card and plane to simply just sign up for a supplement when I retire early 2014. Several sources told me no problem, I have 63 days from when coverage ends (my wife’s Policy) to obtain a supplement. No problem so far right? Fortunately my State Farm Agent was on the ball and called the Underwriter’s for clarification. They said my wife’s coverage ending would have to be INVOLUNTARY !! Meaning terminated, or her employer ending coverage. The underwriters said I have 6 months from my 65th Birthday to obtain a Medicare supplemental policy, otherwise with a pre-existing condition I may not be able to qualify. And chances are being recently diagnosed as a diabetic it is likely I would not. Which means I may never be able to buy a medicare supplement policy!! You say you thought the “pre-existing conditions ended with the ACA?? So did I. It looks like Pre-existing no longer exists EXCEPT when it comes to medicare supplement plans. So just remember the 6 month window after your birthday. Had I kept my employer coverage it would not be a problem.. Just thought all of you out there need to know this.

    by Mark P — April 12, 2014

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