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Published November 10, 2020



I have arrived at the pearly gates of Medicare

By John Toth / The Bulletin

There comes a time in everyone’s life when we say goodbye to expensive private health insurance plans and jump over to Medicare.

I have managed to stay pretty healthy while paying for an insurance plan that I hardly used. But if I pulled out and something expensive happened, I would have gone broke. So, I considered it money well spent.

Now I have something better - Medicare. Yes, I made it to that golden segment of my life.

Facebook even found out that I’m at that stage because I am getting ads for different plans for Medicare Advantage. I didn’t even know what that was at first.

A lot of people have been emailing me about it, and my mailbox has been loaded with different companies offering their plans. How do these people know that I am at the golden years stage? I have hardly acknowledged it, and I definitely didn’t tell anyone.

Heck, it seems like it was just yesterday when I got married, my kids were born, and we were standing in a mile-long line in 95-degree heat at Disney World to get on a 90-second ride. The Toths knew how to have family fun.

It wasn’t that long since I coached my kids in all kinds of sports that I never played, except for soccer on a recreational level. That means that everyone else was playing, and I was recreating on the sidelines, waiting to be called in to play.

Once that happened, my duty was to pass the ball to someone - hopefully on our team - who knew what to do with it.

Oh, how I miss the days of being a youthful father/coach on the Little League field guessing at strikes and balls behind the plate, wearing a mask through which I could hardly see. And on the field, when it was time to make a call on a close play. The kid could have been out or safe, depending on how and from where you looked at it.

How I relished the days when the kids got old enough to play with paid umpires.

Where have all those days gone, and many more? I was wondering this while going through the different Medicare Advantage plans. This is more complicated than trying to keep five kids on the basketball court from bunching all together.

There are some pretty good plans - free gym memberships, transportation, vitamins. Where have you been all my life? I have arrived, baby. Give me some of those silver sneakers.

It was a little hard to maneuver through the Medicare sign-up requirements. I first had to sign up for Medicare Part A and B through Social Security, then wait for my Medicare card to arrive in the mail before I could look for a Medicare Advantage plan.

That’s where the research bogs down, because many companies want your business. But it’s worth the time to really dig into it and find one with zero premiums (other than what Medicare charges).

No, Medicare isn’t really free. You get to pay monthly premiums, which are deducted from the Social Security payments.

“But I am not retiring yet,” I told the very friendly and patient Social Security representative on the phone.

“Oh, don’t worry. We’ll send you a bill,” she said.

I wasn’t really worried.

So, dear reader, to some of you, this is old hat. You have been there and done that. But I hope that it helps others who are just starting through the maze. Oh, yes. One more thing: Don’t call balls and strikes at Little League games. You’ll throw out your lower back, like I did.

(John looks forward to hearing from you on this subject. Send me a note at john.bulletin@gmail.com. You can even send an old-fashioned letter to: The Bulletin, P.O. Box 2426, Angleton, TX. 77516.)