December 8, 2023

Complicated and Dark

For my Black and White Weekend photo, I chose one that stands for how I feel about the mess that is Medicare, and my efforts to make sense of it. It is way more complicated than it should be. 

Yesterday I wrote about how they are raising my Medicare rates dramatically. This would make more sense if it wasn’t something that I had invested in over the years. I worked, I paid into the system. Now they try to penalize me for selling a house. I already paid taxes on that. Yet they say I am going to pay $485.50 extra every month for a year. This penalty is called IRMAA. 

So after I got this notice, I went down to the Social Security office and filled out a form to ask them to reevaluate it. They are supposed to consider the fact that I am now living on one income. This is supposed to make a difference, but there are no guarantees.

Yesterday was the deadline for choosing my Medicare plan for 2024. I felt unsure because of the apparent extra expense and the strain that this puts on my budget. If you have never had to choose a Medicare plan, you probably don’t realize that it is complicated. I don’t know how they expect older people to understand it. Many people lose their ability to handle complex math as they get older. I think I still understand enough of it so far. I’ve compared insurance plans many times over the years, and I realize that insurance companies make a profit from their customers. They have done their calculations so that no matter what you do, they are going to make money and you’re going to lose it. Unless you stay extremely healthy, all the plans will cost you pretty much the same amount over the course of the year. 

I decided to stick with the plan that I had already. I compared options and it’s still the best deal. I’m also sticking with my cheap prescription plan (Part D) because all of the prescription plans must use the same list of covered medications. Most of my regular prescriptions aren’t even on the list so I have to pay for them myself. It is possible to get some of them covered by jumping through hoops, but the reimbursement amount would be small. Unfortunately, the result of all this is that I am paying an awful lot for medical expenses when you include prescriptions and insurance payments. If I had known how expensive retirement was going to be, I might have worked longer.

Medical insurance in the USA is pretty much a necessity because medical costs are exorbitantly high. The system is broken. 


  1. Medicare is reasonable!

  2. Excellent photo!
    Every time I hear about medical expenses in the USA I feel so very happy that I live in Ireland - as my pension is paid by the Welfare all things medical are free!

  3. Sad thing is,it may only get more expensive for us,. Or if some politicians get there way, even cut off all together. Depends on who you vote for.
    Take care, have a great weekend.

  4. Thank goodness for our system of universal health care in Canada. It’s not perfect, systems administered by bureaucrats rarely are, but it does provide peace of mind. And for the most part good service too.

  5. Navigating through Social Security adjustments and Medicare plan choices can indeed be a complex and sometimes daunting process, especially considering the financial implications. It's unfortunate that the system can be challenging, and the costs can put a strain on budgets. Your insights into the complexities of insurance plans and the financial considerations in retirement highlight the ongoing challenges many individuals face.

  6. Wow, we are just starting to deal with Medicare as Barb goes on it in March.

  7. That's terrible, sorry to read this Linda.

  8. This seems to make no sense. Complicated for its own sake. I hope you get it all sorted.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Mlebourne

  9. Affordable care act certainly didn't make medical affordable. I will be looking into SSI & Medicare as I will be reaching that age soon. It is certainly complicated to navigate.

  10. In India we have to depend on Insurance companies for medical insurance who are there to rip you off!


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