It Beats the Alternative – I Think!

My father finally retired when he was sixty-nine years old. He was able to collect Social Security, but there was no such thing as Medicare in 1960. Of course, medical costs were far smaller back then, so it wasn’t really a problem.

The reason I mention this is because I am fast approaching the age of sixty-five, and it would be impossible for me to overlook that magic number. For the last month I’ve been bombarded with offers to buy supplemental policies. Naturally, every one of them has a deal that is better than any other.

And that leaves me wondering where I can get true unbiased advice. To be honest, I don’t even know if I can trust some government employee to steer me in the right direction.

If I’d received all sorts of mailings prior to my twenty-first birthday and had to make a decision based on that age, I wouldn’t have thought twice about asking Uncle Sam. Now that I’m a lot older and have seen enough to make me distrustful of bureaucrats, I find myself in a dilemma.

There are two reasons I distrust government employees. In the first place, many of them are ill trained for the job they are supposed to be doing. We’ve all heard the horror stories about the inept IRS employees – call twice with the same question, talk to two different employees, get two completely different answers.

Secondly, considering how many times we hear about dishonesty, how can I be sure the bureaucrat I’m talking with isn’t getting kick backs from some fly-by-night insurance company that he or she highly recommends?

As for AARP, the group that claims to be looking out for us, it seems that they have sold out to the highest bidder. The only insurance company that carries their seal of approval is the same company rated lowest for claim processing.

I think they need to quit lending their name to any company willing to buy that name, quit glamorizing the youthful appearances of celebrities in their magazine, quit trying to get the government to pay for everything – it is our tax dollars the government is spending – and recognize that not all retirees can afford the homes and vacations they think we should be taking with our grandchildren.

With few other options remaining, this morning I decided to learn some things on my own. I went to medicare.gov and downloaded their ‘convenient’ handbook. It is one hundred twenty-eight pages long. I’ve read about a third of it and still have no idea what it is all about.

Getting old is not pretty, and our government doesn’t make it any easier. We’ve all heard that getting old beats the alternative – dying young – but sometimes I’m not so sure. If dying means I can go to heaven and never have another health problem and never have to decide which insurance plan to purchase, that might not be so bad.

However, as long as I have a shadow of doubt in the back of my mind, I’ll stick it out here for as long as I can.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going back to studying about plans A, B, C, and D. I hope there are no more than that.

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