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Subject:  An unpleasant fact Date:  8/13/2006  9:50 PM
Author:  oncqueen Number:  53121 of 88506

One unpleasant fact is that as folks approach retirement, health problems start to accumulate, even in those who are non-smoking, clean-living, seatbelt-wearing, previously healthy people. It's imperative that as people approach retirement they ensure that they have medical insurance, rather than letting it lapse or relying entirely on Medicare.
Over the past month, I have seen one man who has no coverage whatsoever for his cancer; he had previously inherited what seemed like a nice amount but it was gone. He said, "I've always been healthy and never thought I would live this long." Another paid his insurance for years, but never used it and let it lapse, but now 2 years later he has cancer. Many others do have Medicare BUT they have a formulary of drugs that are and are not approved for this or that malignancy. The newest stuff takes months to get onto the formulary, and even then a patient's share might be prohibitive (20% of a drug that is $8000 per month). Many docs see patients with no insurance but many do not. Some will not even see Medicare patients because the payment schedule is so poor and the payments lag so far behind! Getting Medicaid can take months, and even then one's choices are somewhat limited. Cancer is hard enough without having to deal with all this, and many offices do not spend the time to try to get people help. One cannot have enough benefit dinners to make a real dent.

I think the current system is terrible and do not intent to open a "can of worms" here, but unfortunately, I think it will take years before things will improve, especially when our highest elected officials have VIP medical care that is essentially free to them. But planning ahead and budgeting for the extra amount to ensure good coverage is money well spent.
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