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Queens Chronicle

The cost of coverage

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Posted: Thursday, November 14, 2013 10:30 am

Dear Editor:

It’s been almost 20 years that I am on Medicare. For the first two years, I paid into AARP as my Medigap. It was like sending a Christmas check to a nephew: I didn’t get anything back. I rarely saw a doctor. What I did see was money removed from my Social Security benefits so that I would have less to live on. Real money for phantom illnesses.

This is how it works for Medicare. Every year a deductible is taken out. This year it is $147. Multiply this for two of us (my husband) and it comes to $294. Every month, also from Social Security, $104 disappears. For one person, times 12 that comes to $1,248. Again multiply by two and we have a total of $2,496 for the year. Add this to $294 and we arrive at the grand total of $ 2,790.

Now if we apply for AARP (and believe me all the Medigaps are the same price), for Part A, it’s no-frills, basic coverage after Medicare decides what it wants to pay a physician, not necessarily what he bills for. As a matter of fact, they never get what they ask for! Let me stress that it’s only after Medicare pays — nothing before Medicare kicks in. For this coverage the cost is now $156 per month, amounting to $1,872 a year times two again, totalling $3,774. So it costs more for your Medigap than for Medicare. Add this to the charges for Medicare and the grand total is $6,564 for two people for the year.

After the first two years of coverage from both, I decided to put in two-years worth of charges as a startup into an account I called our Medical Account, out of which I pay out- of-pocket charges. Every month I pay myself the current AARP cost. I’m still coming out ahead. Friends ask me, “What happens if you have a catastropic illness?” Think about it: At my age, what would that be?

Shirley Sacks
Forest Hills

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