Cruising Along the Information Deathtrap

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My fears of my Cadillac Medical Insurance coming to an end is beginning to happen.
I've been on Medicare for years now and have no complaints whatsoever. The yearly deductible was fair and tolerable. I was working the system by going every other year without ever evoking it. The Part A & B premiums were a little high, but I managed. The 80% payable rate was mitigated by my union insurance covering 80% of what was left. I felt a little guilty writing checks for $1.75 to clear some of my final balances for doctor or physical therapist bills.
Cadillac indeed.
But in hindsight, I already paid it forward starting in 1965 when Johnson signed the Medicare bill that created the mechanism to take money out of my paycheck to fund the program. I have paid into this trust fund for 57 years.
And beginning in 1971, I began paying into my union Health Fund that would provide me and my family with affordable health insurance and continuing for me even after I retired. And, as with Medicare, for life.
I just received a letter from the board of trustees of my national union association informing me they have signed me up for a Medicare Advantage Plan and have notified Medicare of the change.
All medical and prescription billing will, as of January 1st 2023, go to Aetna Insurance Co.
There is an opt out clause, but I will have to give up my union insurance which includes dental and mental health coverage.
What's more, only retirees are subject to this switch, as existing working members and their families will continue on as before with union insurance unchanged.
I feel like I've been thrown under the bus along with all the other retirees.
I've called the union hall, the National office, Medicare. and Aetna. All of them said the same thing, somebody else did it.
And they have all assured me that this is a better plan. Maybe.
One thing I do know, Medicare is a not-for-profit organization that has done well for 57 years.
Aetna is a for profit enterprise that is bent on destroying all the competition.
Because it's the American Way.
Done venting, thanks for putting up with it.
Thread is open.

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earthling1's picture

this morning to call around for more info. Got the letter late afternoon yesterday so most the offices are back east. A 3 hour time warp.
I am going to try and contact the union retiree committee and get some of their feedback.
I will probably be on hold a lot so continue on with your OT concerns, I will be right here listening to elevator music.

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13 users have voted.

After six years, still getting robo-calls from Marriot Hotels.
They're like herpes.

usefewersyllables's picture

What a racket. They'll keep pulling this stuff until they finally tackle the elephant in the room: when they try to kill off TriCare (the magical plan that all the high-zoot military retirees get), then there'll be a serious revolution.

Picking off unions one by one is one thing, but most military folks are pretty conservative, and there are a *metric shitload* of them. And most are pretty angry already, have guns, and would be more than happy to use them again (just for old times' sake).

Note for the NSA or other agencies looking for the word "gun" in posts: I am not a veteran, do not have TriCare, and I do not own a gun. Go screw with someone else.

And now, back to the highway. It was either this, or Grace Jones' "Warm Leatherette"... Oh, hell, might as well post 'em both.

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13 users have voted.

Twice bitten, permanently shy.

earthling1's picture

LoL.
Don't know anything about Tricare, or what qualifies in the military as retirees. Is that lifers?
My brother has VA coverage. He did four in 'Nam. Is that the same?
Note to NSA, pay attention to what they are doing to me. Because eventually they will get around to you too.

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11 users have voted.

After six years, still getting robo-calls from Marriot Hotels.
They're like herpes.

usefewersyllables's picture

@earthling1

The handful of acquaintances who have TriCare (and love it- talk about Cadillac!) were officers. A couple came out of the various academies, and only one was a mustang (enlisted who busted into the officer's corps the hard way). Not having been military myself, I'm not sure who qualifies for it, and who doesn't. I do know from conversations among them that they fully expect the promise of lifetime care to be broken eventually, and will respond accordingly at the time. I suspect that it won't look even one bit like Bing and Danny in "White Christmas".

The history of modern America is that of broken promises. Perhaps Joe and Mary Sixpack will look up from their teevees, set down their Brawndos, and take notice. Eventually. No smiley.

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15 users have voted.

Twice bitten, permanently shy.

earthling1's picture

@usefewersyllables
"The history of modern America is that of broken promises".
Yeah, there is something to be said about this form of government that begats promises made/promises broken as an operating system.
And re-considering my brother's service, I think he is a lifer also.
He physically spent four years in 'Nam, but he is sometimes still there. In some iteration or another.

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14 users have voted.

After six years, still getting robo-calls from Marriot Hotels.
They're like herpes.

enhydra lutris's picture

@usefewersyllables

The history of modern America is that of broken promises

"Modern America" meaning the portion of North America currently ruled by the USA from roughly 1600 CE to date plus Hawaii.

be well and have a good one

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12 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

usefewersyllables's picture

@enhydra lutris

Plus some other colonies like Puerto Rico, maybe the USVI, and a whole bunch of de facto colonies that look an awful lot like military bases in the 80 countries that are infested by them (that we admit to, in any case...).

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10 users have voted.

Twice bitten, permanently shy.

enhydra lutris's picture

Aetna might actually have a decent package for this one special program in order to qualify for some unrelated breaks and benefits based on some provision requiring them to provide one decent plan or meet some specified average. You know, like when a car MFR had to produce at least 100 of a specific vehicle to qualify for various things, or had to maintain fleet mileage avereages, etc.

be well and have a good one

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8 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

earthling1's picture

@enhydra lutris
There is a new, Mmmm, fourth party involved that is supposed to be our liaison with the other three.
Lets see, first is Medicare, two is the Union Fund bureaucracy, three the Aetna crowd, and fourth, this union affiliated Labor First advocacy group.
My healthcare dollars sure are supporting a lot of people.
I'm paying almost $3k a year in Medicare premiums plus $2200 in union premiums. Split between 4 organizations dipping their fingers in the pile.
And the fifth element, Congress can change the whole freakin' structure at any time.
Universal Healthcare would put a lot of people out of work.
I think this debacle is a classic example of what is wrong with the western world. Nobody makes anything anymore. Nearly all manufacturing is done overseas. Here we just have people moving money around and drawing profit with each move. Or duplicate sets of people doing the same clerical duties just to administer healthcare.
It's starting to look like the old W.C. Fields adage: If you can't blind them with brilliance, baffle 'em with bullshit.
Damn, now I'm ranting again.
Sorry.

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11 users have voted.

After six years, still getting robo-calls from Marriot Hotels.
They're like herpes.

Sima's picture

@earthling1
Commenting very late, but rant away! The insurance stuff is such a scam, such a scam. I've got a tooth were the gold cap fell off a few years ago. I can't get it replaced because insurance doesn't cover it and I can't afford the replacement (yet, I'm saving!). So, 'just brush carefully' is the advice.

I hope your union steps up and reinstates your insurance!

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2 users have voted.

If you're poor now, my friend, then you'll stay poor.
These days, only the rich get given more. -- Martial book 5:81, c. AD 100 or so
Nothing ever changes -- Sima, c. AD 2020 or so

network. And be prepared to take off work to see your primary dr. to get a referral for some specialist in a field in which your primary dr. has never practiced.
I could go on...
My guess is your union got cozy with Big Insurance and dumped a slew of useless, costly retirees in very hot grease.
Raise some hell!

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14 users have voted.

"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false." ---- William Casey, CIA Director, 1981

earthling1's picture

@on the cusp
We are the most costly cohort.
The Society of Greased Palms strike again.

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11 users have voted.

After six years, still getting robo-calls from Marriot Hotels.
They're like herpes.

usefewersyllables's picture

@on the cusp

sitting in a waiting room for a preop appointment (getting my left knee replaced on Monday, after doing the right one in September). So I have to do the exact same preop dance again. All the same people will say all the same things... Had to take the whole day off to drive to get here, first appointment is now two three hours late- which means the second one will be a miss unless they can “fit me in”. Do I want to come back in tomorrow? Really? How does “No!” work for ya?

I’m trying to fit all of this stuff into this year, partially for the deductible, but primarily to get it done before the system gets any worse, or our insurance gets gutted. My doc is great, the procedure itself went great, but my Gawd, the overhead

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4 users have voted.

Twice bitten, permanently shy.

snoopydawg's picture

@usefewersyllables

If they belong to a clinic that has been bought by a hedge fund because people’s health isn’t the main priority, but $$$ is.

I worked for retinal doctors that would see over 85 patients a day and often times it’d be over 100. Of course we would run late because all it took was just one patient that needed more than the 10 minutes allotted. It was a satellite clinic and the main one had both a tech and photographer and less patients, but I had to do both jobs plus develop the films and I would often see 1 patient 3 times in 1 day if they needed emergency treatment. When I developed migraines from the stress I told the boss I refused to work that hellacious schedule and if I didn’t get help I would quit. "Really? Why would you take that stance?" Duh! The boss asked me why I wasn’t taking meds for the migraines. SMH.

Of course the patients would take their anger out on the staff and I would cut them off and say they need to tell the doctor that. I so wished that people would have started walking out to let the doctors know that isn’t acceptable. But like you they probably had to take time off from work to make their appointment. It needs every patient to walk out because that’s the only way it affects their wallets.

Good luck with your surgery and I hope it’s as successful as the first one was.

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4 users have voted.

Rhett Butler contemptuously reminded Southern secession hot heads “There’s not a cannon factory in the whole South.”

It is not until the tide goes out that you discover who has been swimming naked.

usefewersyllables's picture

@snoopydawg

for the kind thoughts!

To finish up the waiting-room story, turns out that they can fit me in today after all- at 3:45pm. Just in time to get into the teeth of rush hour traffic. So there's a day of my life I won't get back. Monday will be a lot better: general anaethesia helps a lot in dealing with the medical system, and this time I don't have to worry as much about them doing the wrong knee by accident. It's kinda obvious, what with that brand-new bright red scar and all. But I'll still write "Not this one, the other one!" on the right one in Sharpie before I go in, just in case. Always leave 'em laughing...(;-)

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3 users have voted.

Twice bitten, permanently shy.

and I'm afraid we are at the point where just about all the easy pickings been picked.

At this point the inherent value, intrinsic abstract value, is being harvested (using one of the Bain Capital descriptions). The idea that people are receiving something that appears to have value that they aren't currently paying for must be shifted into a paygo.

For example, you might have paid into the fund long ago, either monetarily or by blood/sweat, but you aren't paying now. Ergo, you are getting it for free. Of course this doesn't apply to the privileged class. Just because you paid for some infrastructure (commons), like the Golden Gate or the Tacoma Narrows bridge, doesn't mean you get to cross for free. That was then, this is now.

No more freebies for boomers.

Sorry, ending this... way too upsetting. Please do well or at least as best you can.

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12 users have voted.
earthling1's picture

@exindy
"you might have paid into the fund long ago, either monetarily or by blood/sweat, but you aren't paying now."
I'm paying two premiums totaling $5200 a year as a retiree. I'm still not getting anything for free.
And it certainly cannot be called entitlement, even though that word has been demonized as getting something for nothing.
But I completely understand your views on end stage Capitalism.
Sorry for marring your day.

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11 users have voted.

After six years, still getting robo-calls from Marriot Hotels.
They're like herpes.

@earthling1 if I might have not been as clear as I should have been.

I was not voicing my opinion but rather that of the owner class. You had been receiving benefits from previous times but that benefit is an overhead to the current owners and they are seeing that benefit to you as a reduction in their return. So they sold that "liability" to someone else (like Aetna) who then bounces it around at their board meetings and decide to outsource the handling. Ahah! They say.... the answer is Advantage. The miniscule piece of the owner's contribution which had been reduced over the years and passed on to you as premium increases got to the point where it could be eliminated altogether and passed on to thiose who have no voice. Us, you and me. Medicare Advantage is a societal debt, overhead. It isn't being paid for. Just like a "defense budget". Open ended credit card. Printer stock.

Funny money. Fiat currency?

Sorry again, caught by Poe's Law.

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10 users have voted.
lotlizard's picture

@exindy  
The country, the West, the whole anthropocene Earth, are shaking themselves apart.

https://www.qwant.com/?t=videos&q=tacoma+narrows+bridge+galloping+gertie

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5 users have voted.
TheOtherMaven's picture

@lotlizard

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3 users have voted.

There is no justice. There can be no peace.

will not be privatized.
Can you imagine Wall Street banksters getting their dirty hands on that Trust Fund?
As for medical insurance, there was a time at the turn of the 20th century, when health insurance was non-profit. i might research that eventually, share some information on how it all went so wrong, and who's idea was it to destroy our county's health care? I hate to call it an industry. That just sounds so damn cold and heartless.

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9 users have voted.

"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false." ---- William Casey, CIA Director, 1981

snoopydawg's picture

and I’m getting boatloads of mail about and 90% is for trying to sell me on Medicare advantage.
"Save $164 a month and have it go back in your social security check!' I’d say that 90% of the mail is for it.

I’m afraid that my sellout government isn’t going to give me the chance to choose what I want. I’ve read that lots of people are automatically signed up for advantage without their consent. I will raise holy hell if I’m put on it!

The thing is that I signed up for it over a year ago because I aged out of SSI into SS, but didn’t realize that I didn’t qualify for it till I was 65. But I’ve already made my decision if that counts for anything. I’m very lucky that Biden keeps extending the Covid emergency because it keeps me on Medicaid even though I no longer qualify for it. This is what everyone should be on. I never see a bill for any treatment and it’s hit and miss whether I have to pay a copay. My meds are paid for and only 2 got rejected because they didn’t think I needed them.

I hope this is going to work out for you better than you think it will. But no union person should be able to make decisions without people voting on them. But we know that union leadership has sold out its members long ago.

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6 users have voted.

Rhett Butler contemptuously reminded Southern secession hot heads “There’s not a cannon factory in the whole South.”

It is not until the tide goes out that you discover who has been swimming naked.

Lily O Lady's picture

@snoopydawg

without your knowledge or consent is ACO REACH. It’s a Trump Administration program repackaged by the Biden Administration so that Medicare can be fully privatized by 2030. It is supposed to be experimental, but it’s already abundantly obvious that all it does is give worse care for more money in the pockets of private equity.

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2022/05/19/why-seniors-me-are-fightin...

You do have to sign up for Medicare [dis]Advantage, which is just another avenue to Medicare privatization.
https://nader.org/2019/11/21/beware-of-the-medicare-disadvantage-corpora...

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6 users have voted.

"The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

snoopydawg's picture

@Lily O Lady

Haven’t some people been moved into MA when they sign up without their knowledge? And yes I’ve read that it is full of waste and corruption and it has cost the government many millions in extra fees that weren’t warranted. This has been going on for years, but since congress gets a kick back from the corruption they aren’t in any hurry to fix it.

Funny tho how the shitlibs were outraged about it when Trump was president, but now that it’s Biden doing it it’s okay. And boy don’t you dare criticize democrats for screwing the rail workers! The democrat guardian shitlibs will jump all over you like flies on dawg poo. It’s the republicans fault that they didn’t get sick leave even though it was Biden that told them to make sure that they didn’t strike. And not Pelosi’s for splitting the bill either. No wonder democrats keep screwing their base. They keep taking it.

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6 users have voted.

Rhett Butler contemptuously reminded Southern secession hot heads “There’s not a cannon factory in the whole South.”

It is not until the tide goes out that you discover who has been swimming naked.