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Old 04-15-2008, 07:43 AM
 
42 posts, read 128,181 times
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for baby boomers. This was a headline in todays issue of my morning paper. I can't find the article online yet (perhaps it will be available later) so I can't post a link, but it contained the following paragraphs that I found of concern:

The study said that Medicare may hinder seniors from getting the best care because of its low reimbursement rates, a focus on treating short-term health problems rather than managing chronic conditions and lack of coverage for preventive services or for health care providers' time spent collaborating with a patient's other providers.

The American Medical Association responded that seniors' access to Medicare in coming years "is threatened by loomin Medicare physician payment cuts."

"This July, the government will begin steep cuts in Medicare physician payments, and 60 percent of physicians say this cut will force them to limit the number of new Medicare patients they can treat," the AMA said in a statement.


I've already heard people on this site refering to difficulties finding doctors that will accept them as Medicare patients. How big a problem is this? Especially in rural areas? What have your experiences been regarding Medicare?

My retirement provides for my existing insurance to continue to cover me if I retire early until I'm eligible for Medicare so it wouldn't be an immediate concern for me, but is this going to be a big issure when I hit 65?

What about supplemental insurance... does it make a big difference (or any difference) as to whether a doctor will accept you as a patient? I admit that this is one area of my pending retirement that I haven't researched very carefully!
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Old 04-15-2008, 04:55 PM
 
Location: home...finally, home .
8,235 posts, read 18,506,963 times
Reputation: 17765
Without being too political, it is truly important for people our age to make sure that we elect someone who will provide us with healthcare. That is what we really all need more than anything else.
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Old 04-15-2008, 05:52 PM
 
Location: Knoxville, TN
2,172 posts, read 6,884,992 times
Reputation: 1525
I'm on SS Disability and have Medicare through that. I have not had a problem. I pay for Part B, which covers doctors visits and stuff and also have a Medicare Advantage program, which has virtually replaced the supplemental insurance that was popular.
Mine works like an HMO. I pay more each month for it.
The one I'm in now is excellent and provides drug coverage as well as doctors payments. But what a plan covers varies a lot and I spend most of December of each year (when it's up for renewal or change) reading fine print on websites to see what changed and what the cost to me would be.
I was in Secure Horizons because it took over John Deere which I started out with and it was OK. But Secure Horizons has joined with AARP this year and what they covered dropped dramatically and the cost went up, apparently to cover all the TV commercials.
Since I'm in Knoxville, TN, with a lower cost of living in general, I find I'm better off with a small plan than covers areas with the same general costs. With big national plans, costs get averaged and I end up losing out.
The doctors I can see -- and I don't need an approval -- are at the top of the lists around here as are the hospitals. The list of providers is something you need to check before signing up.
The biggest problem in Medicare is the cost of drugs. Hold on to any and all non-Medicare coverage that you can. The new plans help some, but so much isn't covered. Like vitamins. I have to take iron and now Vitamin D in prescription doses. These aren't cheap. The Iron -- before I found out I could order it for 1/3 the price from a Canadian pharmacy -- was costing me $75 a month a Sam's Club. The Vitamin D is $35 a month and I only take that 3 times a week. Medicare does not cover vitamins at all.
Also keep any dental coverage. My current plan actually includes $250 a year in dental coverage which is really amazing. Most have nothing.
You've really got to take responsibility for your health care, from who vote for to making sure your doctor knows what you can and can't afford. Aging is not for the timid!
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Old 04-15-2008, 07:16 PM
 
Location: UP of Michigan
1,766 posts, read 2,082,671 times
Reputation: 5713
There have been several letters to ed in the local paper bemoaning the situation because the only dentist that will accept Medicaid is 30mi away. One veteran had to go 3hrs one way to a downstate dentist because none here would take the small reimbursement for a procedure. IMO dentists are typically more mercenary then others in the medical racket. The AMA is a stumbling block to progress in reform, they are a lobbyist group. Of the few docs I personally talk with.....the one who never joined the AMA is the most open to patient needs (no slouch, he's a UofM grad). Anyone with a retirement covering medical better enjoy it now, because corps have now been able to change the rules and walk away from retiree benefits. The system is broken.....momentarily you will hear from those who will chide you for not planning better and saving more an there is "nothing wrong with the greatest system in the world" (those that have all they need)_I see very small chance of any meaningful change due to the election cycle.
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Old 04-17-2008, 01:51 PM
 
Location: Lakeland, Florida
6,972 posts, read 12,480,117 times
Reputation: 8707
Our healthcare in this country is nothing less than a absolute disgrace. When Im overseas and relatives bring up this subject Im uncomfortable and ashamed to even talk about it. Im mostly ashamed because Im afraid I will rant so much about this subject that I will make them uncomfortable. Im retired from the VA Medical Centers so I understand Health care and its many problems. I can honestly say there are more people than one could ever imagine in this country that have died or will die because of lack of medical care or the ability to pay for it.
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Old 04-17-2008, 02:06 PM
 
Location: Seattle, WA
1 posts, read 2,410 times
Reputation: 10
I don't know all of the rules yet, but I also get to carry my insurance into retirement. Is it true that your insurance will cover what Medicare does not?

When I go to Bangkok yearly, I get my dental cleanings done at Bumrumgrad. It is so much less expensive ($30 compared with $195!!). Because I have perio disease I have to get cleanings 3 or 4 times a year.

My partner is a clinical psychologist. It takes her up to a year to get reimbursed by Medicare and that's after spending hours on the phone with them, resubmitting paperwork, etc., etc. It would almost seem they're just hoping that providers won't bother with the hassle! And, of course, their rates keep dropping.

That said, my 80 year old mother gets excellent care in Connecticut using Medicare. She doesn't know what she'd do without it. I think this is a pretty complicated issue, but I sure hope it improves.
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Old 04-17-2008, 02:44 PM
 
Location: UP of Michigan
1,766 posts, read 2,082,671 times
Reputation: 5713
FRONTLINE: home | PBS For those who may not have seen this.....a comparison of health care provided in a number of different countries. Makes a good case that US is not the best in this category.
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Old 04-17-2008, 05:25 PM
 
Location: Bayside, NY
823 posts, read 3,373,852 times
Reputation: 387
I watched the Frontline program and some of the statistics they gave were amazing. In countries like Japan, Taiwan, England and Germany where they have nationalized health insurance no one goes bankrupt because they can't afford to pay their medical bills. Insurance companies are not allowed to make a profit on basic health insurance. Drug costs are a fraction of what we pay here.

It's a crime that the richest country in the world ranks way down the list in the quality of health care and I think it's the voters fault for not bringing more pressure on their representatives in Washington.
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Old 04-18-2008, 05:43 PM
 
Location: home...finally, home .
8,235 posts, read 18,506,963 times
Reputation: 17765
I totally agree, norm!
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People may not recall what you said to them, but they will always remember how you made them feel .
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Old 04-18-2008, 10:48 PM
 
48,516 posts, read 83,890,268 times
Reputation: 18049
I have also read that with medicare cutbacks that more and more physicians are nt accepting medicare patients. Hospitals are also adding extended care medicare only areas to the hospitals that many say are under staffed.They sound like something described in the UK forum of what their hospitals are like.I frankly don't see the pro[posed healthcare being proposed by the candidates as being any better probably. KLooks like we willsee a three tier system of those that can pay for service;those that have employer or other private insurance and those on the government program.Since the governmant doesn't own any hospitals you bet bet on the ones that are going to take the government plan.
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