You’re going to need a Math degree to follow this, as with everything about Medicare. Actually I HAVE a Math degree and have trouble following it.
Before I Start
(You can skip this section. I wish I could have. You’ll wish that when you’re turning 65.)
I’m old enough that I am on Medicare. Figuring out what to sign up for was AMAZINGLY difficult. Part A, Part B, Part D (privatized) and then you need a private “Medigap” Supplemental plan. You can get Plan A or B or C or D or E or F or G. I think. See if you can understand this from Medicare.
Note: Medigap plans sold to people new to Medicare can no longer cover the Part B deductible. Because of this, Plans C and F are no longer available to people new to Medicare on or after January 1, 2020. However, if you were eligible for Medicare before January 1, 2020, but not yet enrolled, you may be able to buy one of these plans that cover the Part B deductible (Plan C or F). If you already have or were covered by Plan C or F (or the Plan F high deductible version) before January 1, 2020, you can keep your plan.
Or you can get Medicare Advantage, which are really almost all privatized scams. And then there are private supplements for vision & dental (both absolute scams worthy of another post!!!) Payments for these all come out of my Social Security.
Fortunately where I live we have Kaiser, which is NOT a for-profit corporation so it isn’t a scam and actually is pretty good. I was already on Kaiser so I stayed on Kaiser’s Medicare Advantage.
Now I’ll Start
ANYway… That’s not what this post is about.
My wife is on regular Medicare with a Supplement. She hasn’t needed any prescriptions so we never signed her up for Medicare Part D. But now she needs a shingles vaccine. She looked into it last year and it costs over $200 – each and you need two. So fuck that.
So she got a newsletter from Sutter (a private medical corporation that used to be good but now is TERRIBLE because they keep squeezing everything for profits) that said the shingles vaccine is free now. So we happily went to a pharmacy and it is not free it is $260 per dose = $520.
What happened? Get this: It’s only “free” if you have Medicare Part D. That’s the privatized “drug plan” part of Medicare. This is because of a 2022 law that “lowered drug prices.” But it turns out it only lowered prices for people with Medicare Part D. Everyone else still pays. And it’s “free” now because even if you HAD a “drug plan” before 2023 the copayments and deductibles meant you paid a LOT. Fucking Democrats.
You’re a Bad Citizen Because You Didn’t Need Drugs So You Pay A PENALTY
So we looked up how to get Part D. You can’t GET Part D because this is not the “Open Enrollment Period.” Wut?
But even if we could sign up WE WOULD HAVE TO PAY A “PENALTY.” A PENALTY for getting old!!!. She’s over 65. She didn’t sign up at 65 because she didn’t NEED drugs, so there is a formula for a “penalty” you have to pay. Yes, the word they use is PENALTY.
How much is our “PENALTY?” Now it’s Math Degree time. Medicare has a formula for calculating the penalty (remember though, you can only sign up at certain times of the year which required another formula):
The cost of the late enrollment penalty depends on how long you went without Part D or creditable prescription drug coverage.
Medicare calculates the penalty by multiplying 1% of the “national base beneficiary premium” ($32.74 in 2023) times the number of full, uncovered months you didn’t have Part D or creditable coverage. The monthly premium is rounded to the nearest $.10 and added to your monthly Part D premium.
The national base beneficiary premium may change each year, so your penalty amount may also change each year.
Got that? You calculate your penalty by multiplying 1% of the “national base beneficiary premium” ($32.74 in 2023) times the number of full, uncovered months you didn’t have Part D or creditable coverage. The monthly premium is rounded to the nearest $.10 and added to your monthly Part D premium. Also the national base beneficiary premium may change each year, so your PENALTY amount may also change each year.
OK so you take her age NEXT DECEMBER and subtract 65 and then multiply by 12 to get months. Then you take 1% times the months and multiply that by $32.74 and round up the result to the nearest $0.10. At age 70 that means 70-65 times 12 then add months between birthday and december and multiply that number by 1% and multiply the result times $32.74.
Then you ADD that to whatever the monthly premium for your Part D drug plan, which is around $100 so maybe you end up having to ay $ 125 a month or something. Not small change at all.
But then there is the DEDUCTIBLE, meaning you have to pay the full price for your drugs until you reach maybe $500 before Part D starts kicking in to LOWER your price (you still have a copay except for a few things.)
So your FREE MEDICAL CARE under Medicare costs you around ($125 x 12) plus $500 deductible plus co-pays. Just for drugs. Also the rest has deductibles and co-pays.
THIS is Democrats “helping the elderly.”
But Republicans Worse
Remember, though, Republicans would just say fuck you you get NOTHING because you’re just an eater, so go pay a private company a shitload every month and then if you get sick they cancel your “insurance.” ASnd you lose your house and go bankrupt.
THIS is our country, people. Corporate rule or corporate rule light. This post explains why it is that way.
Because actually doing things to make people’s lives better would be SOCIALISM!