SoCS — What’s In YOUR Mailbox?

57493DD2-FB35-4435-83BC-CF42B85998C0For this week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt, Linda G. Hill has asked us to “look at the latest ad you got in the mail (if it’s a store flyer, choose the product right in the middle of the page) or choose the next online ad you find, and theme your post on whatever the product is.”

Before I get into this, I would like to pay homage to our mail carriers, who, for the next month, will be loaded down with thick, heavy Christmas catalogs, which they will be delivering to our homes. I’ve already gotten a number of such catalogs, and they almost always go directly from my mailbox to my recycling bin.

But this post is not going to focus on those holiday catalogs. It’s Medicare open enrollment season. It started on October 15th and runs through December 7th. Medicare open enrollment gives Medicare recipients the opportunity to review their medical and prescription drug coverage and make sure the plans they subscribe to best meet their needs.

My wife and I have hospital, doctor, and prescription drug coverage through Medicare. Because Medicare has deductibles and coinsurance that we’d have to pay out-of-pocket, we purchase Medicare supplement plans to reimburse us for those out-of-pocket costs. We also buy so-called “Medigap” plans for dental and vision services, which Medicare doesn’t cover.

So, with that background, I will finally get to Linda’s challenge. I’m going to talk about the plethora of flyers we receive from various Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement, and Medigap providers, each trying to persuade us that their plans provide the best benefits at the lowest costs of all such plans.

Just in today’s mail we got flyers from United Healthcare, Anthem, Kaiser, Stanford Health, Sutter Health, and AARP. It’s enough to make my head spin, and I’m not talking about my vertigo condition.

I’m not going to go into the details of these plans, but I will say that I’m fortunate that my career involved understanding employee benefit programs, including healthcare plans. Thus, I am able to grasp what these flyers and brochures are all about.

But I feel sorry for all of the seniors around America who are being inundated by these materials and are clueless when it comes to figuring out which choices would be the best for them.

Good luck old people!