Six months ago, I had my 65th birthday. Appropriately enough, I’m writing this from Florida—although unlike many of my neighbors, I’m a long way from retirement.
My neighbors and I do share one thing, however. Like every other American who’s reached their 65th birthday milestone, I fulfilled the requirement of signing up for Medicare Part A and Part B with the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA).
But, after careful and thorough investigation, I decided against Medicare Part D—and all of those overhyped and unnecessary Medicare “supplement” insurance plans.
Today, I’m going to explain why I think you should do the same. And I’ll also tell you what I recommend instead. But first, I’d like to tell you how Medicare Part A and B are working out for me so far.
Finally, some good, old-fashioned major medical
Long before I turned 65, I was more than ready to get rid of my private, overpriced health insurance… and its measly benefits.
The laughably and dishonestly titled “Affordable Care Act” forced me to pay for medical care I didn’t want or need—in order to subsidize others in the “insurance pool.” Plus, over the past seven years, my health insurance rates had doubled—even though the Obama administration told us that inflation and annual cost of living increases were supposedly near zero.
Since I’ve been on Medicare, I’ve found that one of its best aspects is that I finally no longer have to deal with health insurance companies at all. I was sick and tired of all the wasted time—and humiliation—my doctors and I had to go through just to get insurance companies’ permission and payment for necessary medical treatments.
That’s one big reason why I like Medicare. And here are the other two:
- It won’t hurt your pocketbook. Medicare Part A covers in-patient hospital and nursing home care, lab tests, and surgery. It’s similar to the old hospitalization insurance, or “major medical.” So, you won’t go bankrupt—or wipe out your savings account—because Medicare Part A takes care of any major health event.
Frankly, Part A is all you should need or want if you’re conscious about healthy living and natural approaches to preventing and reversing chronic conditions. But for those who aren’t as diligent about their health, or want a little extra peace of mind…
- There’s an automatic backup plan. Medicare Part B is medical insurance that’s similar to what you’ve probably had for decades. It covers doctors’ visits and outpatient care, as well as medical equipment, home health care, and some preventive services. But, unlike private health insurance, it has reasonable “premiums” and copays.
I view Medicare Part A and Part B as a “belt-and-suspenders” approach. Together, they help protect you for virtually anything that ails you—and at a reasonable price.
That’s why I find it so ridiculous that the government and health insurance companies push Medicare Part D and supplemental insurance. It’s like adding a second set of belts and suspenders. And who in their right mind needs that?
D is for deluded
Medicare Part D exists because the crony, corporatist health insurance industry and big pharma just couldn’t leave “well enough” alone. They had to dig their hands deeper into the pockets of the 60 million older Americans on Medicare.
President George W. Bush, along with Louisiana Rep. Billy Tauzin, proposed Medicare Part D, and Bush signed it into law in 2003. (And the next year Tauzin quit Congress and became head of the drug manufacturers’ lobbying arm, PhRMA, at an annual salary of $2 million. Gee, what a coincidence…)
The supposed goal behind Part D is to close the “donut hole” for prescription drug coverage. But I think it’s really a wealth-transfer program from you—the patient and the taxpayer—to big pharma. Big pharma gets the donut, and we get the hole.
Medicare Part D made the federal government the biggest buyer of drugs in the world.1 But it also forbade the government from negotiating drug prices. Meaning that if you sign up for Part D, you’re subsidizing big pharma’s obscene price markups for prescription drugs—and the government is helping you do it.
I know this personally because my poor mother ended up living mostly on Social Security, and the cost of Medicare Part D was deducted directly from her meager monthly check before she ever saw it. It was another “withholding tax,” which is something the government is very good at.
What about supplemental insurance?
As if the relentless pressure to sign up for Part D wasn’t bad enough, insurance companies spend a lot of money trying to convince you that you need so-called “supplemental” insurance to go along with the Medicare alphabet of options.
But don’t be fooled by their relentless, insipid commercials and AARP sales pitches. Insurance companies prey on uncertainty and fear to get you to buy “coverage” you don’t want or need—in addition to your Medicare declarations.
This supplemental health insurance is part of the same scam perpetrated by big pharma and the corrupt “health” care system. And I don’t believe in subsidizing it any more than absolutely required.
Frankly, if the SSA did a decent job of informing and educating people, you wouldn’t have to run the gauntlet of insurance salespeople when all you’re trying to do is find out basic information about Medicare.
Imagine if the government, which has known all about you for decades—including the exact day you’re going to turn 65—put its time and money into actually helping you navigate the complexities of Medicare!
What if the SSA actually contacted you to help you figure out Medicare, rather than sending threatening notices that you’ll be penalized if you don’t sign up?
Because this simple solution has apparently never occurred to government bureaucrats, or perhaps they’re just there to further the interests of the crony corporatist insurance industry.
Instead, you end up wasting enormous amounts of time and worry just to discover that all you really need is Medicare Part A and B—which has been the real point of the whole program from the beginning!
The entire idea behind Medicare is that you no longer need to bother with private health insurance (including “supplemental” insurance).
My simple, common-sense plan to get the most out of Medicare Part A and B
After I did my research on Medicare, I outlined a simple, three-step plan to ensure I’ll never need Part D or supplemental insurance. And the same steps can work for you:
- Avoid costly drugs. Big pharma and countless conventional doctors are in love with (and in bed with) fancy, brand new drugs. Drugs that usually don’t work as well as the older ones they replace. (For more about this, see my January 2014 Insiders’ Cures article “Why Big Pharma’s ‘latest, greatest’ wonder drugs usually aren’t your best bet.”)
That’s why I always recommend—and take—only generic drugs when really needed. And there’s the added benefit of never having to fall into the “donut hole” that Medicare Part D is supposed to “protect” you from.
- Rethink your doctors’ visits. The older you get, the more likely you are to receive referrals to unnecessary specialists. As a result, you could potentially end up seeing a doctor as often as once a week if you aren’t careful.
And all those copays can add up—to the point that you may be tempted to just go ahead and buy supplemental insurance to try and save a little money. But what a great deal for the insurance industry! The government is at risk for almost all the costs, and they get almost all the benefits.
As I wrote in the February issue of Insiders’ Cures (“The 3 biggest threats to safe, holistic health care”), medical specialists—especially cardiologists, urologists, and orthopedists—tend to over-diagnose and overtreat, especially when it comes to older adults.
But primary care physicians, including internal medicine doctors, look at you as an individual. And they take into account the health of your “whole” body rather than just the “parts” they specialize in. That often equates to better care, fewer doctors’ visits, and less out-of-pocket costs for you.
- Avoid useless “preventive screenings.” Unless you have specific risk factors, yearly mammograms and prostate screenings aren’t really necessary. Same with colonoscopies (as I’ve often reported).
Not only can these tests actually be dangerous for your health, but they can also lead to fake “cancers” or other diagnoses that require expensive drugs or surgeries.
In fact, if your doctor recommends any kind of test, I suggest checking the American Board of Internal Medicine’s Choosing Wisely website (www.ChoosingWisely.org). It gives you well-researched explanations of many common tests, along with the pros and cons of undergoing each test.
Staying healthy and vibrant into your golden years
The bottom line is that your time and money are precious, especially as you get old enough to go on Medicare. So why subject yourself to a corrupt private health insurance system or useless Medicare Part D when you don’t have to?
Plus, if you opt only for Medicare Part A and B, you’ll have more money for healthcare that really boosts your well-being—like massage or acupuncture—which insurance doesn’t usually pay for.
No matter what your age, it’s important to take your health into your own hands. But it’s especially key to do this now if you want to stay vibrant, youthful, and healthy well into your 70s, 80s, 90s—and beyond.
So instead of wasting your energy and brain cells agonizing over Medicare Part D and supplemental insurance, simply sign up for Medicare Part A and B when you’re required to.
And then you’ll have plenty of time to devote to what you really need—a healthy diet, exercise routine, nutrition, and lifestyle interventions. Fortunately, I’ve outlined these in an easy-to-follow daily guide.
Simply refer to my best-selling protocol, The Insider’s Ultimate Guide to Outsmarting “Old Age” for science-backed, all-natural recommendations to increase your longevity and enrich your quality of life. To learn more about this online learning tool, or enroll today, simply visit www.OVHLearning.com, or call 866-747-9421 and reference order code: EOV3V400.