Medicare Maze & Mania

By Diane DeVaughn Stokes

Well, I am surely glad that I have never lied about my age because nowadays even strangers seem to know! For the past six months I have gotten at least three Medicare advisories per day from business after business offering plans for the future. I don’t even know these folks and have never done business with any of them. How do they know what age I am approaching? Does Social Security sell this info? Surely not, as private as your security number is suppose to be! Who is it that alerts all the Medicare folks when someone is turning sixty-five? Gosh, I have to admit just saying it is a little freaky – sixty-five – I’ve always thought of that as the speed on I-95! I still feel like I am thirty, okay maybe forty. But it is hard to believe I will soon qualify for Medicare when I am still working three jobs and have no plans to retire! Yet!

It’s been bad enough that for the past ten years I’ve been receiving free retirement dinner seminars from every investment company in town, not to mention hearing test offers, cosmetic surgery advertisements, literature on retirement living and now insurance companies offering free advice on Medicare for the opportunity to sell me supplemental insurance. One business has sent me weekly requests since May begging for me to call them to set up an appointment. Okay, I understand being assertive, but being aggressive is annoying. Yesterday, I got two solicitations from the same firm. One was addressed to Diane Stokes. One was made out to Diane DeVaughn Stokes. If they took the time to check they would see that both names had the same address. But I guess I am just a number to all these folks and the number is “sixty-five!” Just receiving these mailings makes me feel old! With every piece of mail, I am aging just a little bit more! No wonder when I met my new mail-person last week he said, “Oh you are younger than I thought you would be!” Nice touch, Mr. Mailman!

Last month I attended a Medicare forum at the Grand Strand Senior Center, and the good news was that I was the youngest person there! That was somewhat of a relief. Most of the attendees were three months from the magic number, which is the usual time span most people seek Medicare info. I am glad I started six months out as there is so much to absorb and serious decisions to be made that can affect my pocketbook in the days ahead, from additional insurance to a drug plan.

When I told my mom I was going to a Medicare seminar she said she did not mind being eighty-three but was having trouble dealing with the fact that she had a daughter who would soon qualify for Medicare. She said, “You’re kidding me, aren’t you? It seems like yesterday you turned fifty.” She is right. It does seem like yesterday.

But just as the reality of turning sixty-five in December was really setting in, due to the hundreds of mailings and even a few live phone messages, I spent a few days in a big fat funk dwelling on age. It was really getting to me until the news of Pat Summitt’s death at sixty-four, not because I am a basketball fan, but because the legendary basketball coach of the Tennessee Lady Volunteers was my age and died of Alzheimer’s. Pat would have loved to have reached age sixty-five and might have even laughed reading all the Medicare material she would have received.

“Get a grip,” I said to myself! “You are healthy, have an awesome marriage, still have your beautiful mother living nearby, three jobs that you love, a ton of great friends and the future looks bright. Screw sixty-five! Face it the way you faced every wonderful year – with a passion for life, a smile on your face and a grateful heart. And celebrate that there is such a thing as Medicare.”

Sometimes, talking to yourself is really a good thing. Just don’t let anyone see you do it! I feel like Lucy in the Charlie Brown Comic strip segment, “The Psychiatrist is in!”

It has made me RE-THINK and RE-EVALUATE the situation. From here on out, I plan to conquer the Medicare maze and mania with RENEWED zest, thanking God every step along the way!

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3 Responses to “Medicare Maze & Mania”

  1. Erika Hoffman says:

    I laughed all the way through! I hear ya! It’s amazing what Big Brother knows about all of us! You even have to be careful what you google!!!

  2. Linda O'Connell says:

    Ah, the medicare mountain of recyclables. Have been there. Got a kick out of your story.

  3. Rose Ann says:

    I don’t mind the number….just not having a choice to broadcast or not! Maneuvering through Medicare is not for the weak . . . or so I’ve heard :) Loved your story!

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