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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Why Does AARP Support Any Healthcare Reform?

I read the AARP position papers in the newsletters, magazines and other media, and although they say attempt to say they are taking a neutral position to Obama's reform plan, AARP demands change in the healthcare system. While most of the members are significantly older than the 50 years old required to join, and should be covered by Medicare, the AARP then focuses on the prescription cost "donut hole" that impacts only a small percentage of overall Americans on Medicare, especially those who choose a decent Medicare Advantage HMO policy including prescription coverage!

The shame is that the senior citizens actually believe in AARP and the tripe they throw at their gullible audiences. Like the recent TV commercial showing the ambulance being blocked at every opportunity, by what supposedly were insurers and/or Republicans?

Sure, AARP wants to see health care reform pass, regardless how poorly the reform might be. They want to keep receiving a cut from those supplemental policies they keep hawking on TV, the media, and their own magazine and tabloid.

The fact is that Consumers Union looked at some of those policies and found them to be nearly useless in providing decent coverage–some people paid much more than the policy actually covered; some covered virtually nothing while collecting stiff premiums.

Many senior citizens don’t have a clue what they’re buying when insurance is involved. Sadly, they seem to be assured that if AARP says it’s good, it must be.

I talk to many who praise the coverage they purchased because they never had to use it. But when we review the policy, they are astounded to find they have little coverage at all.

No, I’m not an insurance counselor or agent, just someone who hates to see the older generation get ripped off when they can’t possibly understand what they’re getting.

To me it’s no different than a roofer selling you a new roof, and the first time it rains, the roof leaks and you find out there is a rain exclusion. Or the first several thousand dollars in water damage is excluded, and the policy only covers several thousand dollars.

Oh, I’m sure there are some good policies to be had, but try and differentiate between them unless you have some insurance background, and basic policy language understanding is difficult, if not impossible. Even with “plain language” policies, my spouse, who is a nurse, and I, often sit and pore over the contracts for a long time to ferret out what’s good and bad. And we don’t think we’re even close to the “average” consumer.

Maybe that is a case for reform, but you know what happens when the government gets involved. They never simplify anything. Look at your tax forms. Other than create one that says “send in all you made,” simple just is not in the government vocabulary.

The bottom line is that just because some organization says something is good, or bad, you need to make your own mind up. Like the life insurance policies that promise coverage for only so much per "unit" which in many cases is per $1000. When you multiply the monthly cost times the number of "units" you need for a decent burial and then multiply that times 12 for an annual payment, you can see that in about ten years you pay the entire cost of your funeral up front. Now if you expect to die sooner, maybe it's a good deal but read the fine print to be sure there are no exclusions that prohibit your passing on within the first several years. If there are, you could be throwing your money in a hole...and it won't even be your own grave!

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