In August I will reach the age of sixty-five. I am annoyed. Not at adding on the years, I am grateful for that because my husband and brother did not. What is annoying me, is the over abundance of information on Medicare filling my mailbox. The mailings began early in the year. It started slow, a trickle and has become a flood. Almost every day there is at least one piece of mail at times, several. Each plying their offering for my attention.
First I tossed it all onto the table until the pile grew unbalanced and threatening to fall to the floor. A dollar store basket became the next catch all. If the envelope mentioned medicare, if tearing open the envelope showed it was medicare information, it was tossed into the basket. The basket was placed on the corner of my desk out of the way of possibly being knocked to the floor spreading information haphazardly about. I knew of the open enrollment window so I waited until the end of March to get in touch with someone whose name I had been given. They told me they would send me a packet of information. Once I received it, we would go over the information together. So, I waited.
When June arrived and the information did not, I called again. They told me they had sent it, and didn’t understand why I didn’t receive, but promised to resend. I live in a rural area, and it is not unusual to have different mail carriers. The information coming had nothing that would put my identity at risk so I didn’t worry over the missing package. When the replacement arrived I opened it and quickly realized why it was nice I had help only a phone call away. That phone call made and an appointment was set for a meeting going over everything spread out before me. There was simply way too much information and math equations involved for me to figure out on my own.
The meeting took place on the day I had my first Minute Clinic appointment, which is a whole different story. The person came to my home, and happily made themselves at home. We chatted over the information, about where my house is located, about the information, about our pets and family and family collections. Cricket (the official indoor only cat) came into the kitchen to see what was going on and to actually visit with us. Something she ordinarily does not so, but I think she was trying to guilt me into feeding her. At the end of the meeting, my understanding was better, the information I was given with the explanations making things much more clear. The thoughts and possibilities of advantage or supplement plans fell under the office of yet another individual, who this first person would have call me.
When the phone call came the next day, it was as lengthy as the in person conversation. Again, a very nice individual who obviously knows their job and what they are doing. After the discussion, they have sent me an email with three options for me to look over. The original individual is going to get back with me and help go over the choices and see what will be best for my needs.
I imagine that I could have done this on my own, but then maybe not. Both individuals kept insisting that I should have received my medicare card which I insisted that I had not. I then mentioned that I would go through the basket of mail I had received, just in case I had tossed it in the basket not realizing what it was. And that is exactly what I had done. One, I didn’t realize I would receive it automatically. Two, I didn’t realize it would be in such an inconspicuous envelope. Three, I didn’t know it would have come so early. Four, I was very glad I had saved everything. This meant I didn’t have to start making phone calls trying to find out where it was. I really dislike making phone calls. Five, I didn’t know that it was an automatic enrollment since I’m already signed up and receiving my social security retirement.
I know too, that there is a bit of survivor guilt at play here. My now late husband had been talking about retiring, planning on working just another year or so but he didn’t make it that long. I am enjoying something that he had looked forward to, but didn’t reach. That means I’m facing all the challenges and making my way through the maze of information to the best of my ability. Which means having those who know the way leading me is much and greatly appreciated. Though the struggle is real, they make it much easier. There is no shame in creating a network. Be they people helping with things like medicare or friends who are there for the times of struggle or celebration.