Medicare in our later years
I could tell from the tone of my mother’s voice something was different.
As some of you know, my mother is 96 years old. Long widowed.
Like many of your parents she grew up in the depths of the Great Depression and lost brothers in World War II.
She worked 42 years…not for “Sears”… but for “Sears and Roebuck.”
She has gradually downsized over the years from the three bedroom house I grew up in in Memphis to an independent living facility near our home in Knoxville, Tennessee.
Overall in good health for 96 taking only medication for her thyroid, blood pressure and arthritis.
“Charlie, I’m okay but I seem to have forgotten everything.
Why are we in Knoxville. I know we’re from Memphis.
And what do you do? Do you still work? Do you have a family? And where is Don (her brother)? I think he got a PhD but where is he now?”
(She was right…he did get a PhD…in 1962)
She had suddenly lost much of her memory.
Fearing she had had a stroke, my son and I immediately took her to the Emergency Room.
Along the way I asked her several questions to try to measure the degree of her memory loss and whether it was getting better or worse.
When I asked her who was the President she said she did not know. She seemed very surprised when I told her it was Donald Trump. She said she had seen him on tv recently and that must be why he was on tv.
The tests that were run at the hospital showed she did not have a stroke. Typical of someone her age she does have some atrophy in the brain and the blood flow is not as strong as is was.
Three days later there has been little or no change. Yesterday she asked me if my father’s sister Coy – with whom she was close and who died in 2011 – was still alive. When I told her “no” she said she thought she may have died.
I am not sure what the next few days, or weeks or months or years will be like.
Her safety and comfort is my primary concern.
I am taking her to a neurologist next week so we can try to get a better understanding of what has happened and what is likely to happen.
The government tells us that 75 percent of the health care costs we incur in our life takes place in the last 18 months of our life.
I am very glad my mother has regular Medicare with a Medicare Supplement that allows her to see any doctor or go to any hospital that takes Medicare and pays everything Medicare does not pay.
I know we will be able to do everything we can to keep her as safe, healthy and happy as possible and not have to pay anything.
Unfortunately, I also know many people in situations like hers are not in a Medicare situation that allows then to get the care they need with little or no costs.
Many of our most vulnerable seniors have unknowingly signed over their Medicare benefits to private, for-profit Medicare Advantage plans who ration their health care to maximize their net income.
And the times they deny care to save money the most is in the later stages of life when health care costs are the highest.
The decisions you make about your Medicare when you turn 65 or first go on Medicare can be permanent. Medicare Advantage plans like Humana Gold Plus and Kaiser Permanente who profit hundreds of millions of dollars a year by convincing people to leave Medicare do not explain to people that their choice can be irreversible and they may never be able to return to Medicare and have a Medicare Supplement that pays their share of Medicare’s costs.
I have made it my life’s work to help as many people as possible fully understand how Medicare works and how the choices they make when first going on Medicare can impact their access to the health care they need and their finances the rest of their life.
I would appreciate the chance to help you with your Medicare so you can choose the right Medicare plan for you both now and in the future.
Simply click the following link to schedule a free, no-obligation 30-minute Medicare consultation.
I look forward to talking with you soon.
p.s. If you know of someone who needs help with their Medicare, please forward this email to them.