I have much to be thankful for. I am truly blessed. I attended adequate elementary schools that prepared me for a college-prep high school program. I received an AA degree (not Alcohol Anonymous, mind you!) from a junior college, then my BS degree from SUNY at Geneseo, NY, then my Masters degree from the University of SC. I even had 30 hours towards my doctorate degree. I had an interesting career path that began in the classroom, then I took on more responsibility and became a team leader, then I worked in the District Office and created programs to teach teachers. All this to say, I am not exactly dumb.
So, why is it I can't make heads or tails of all of the forms that I keep receiving from the Social Security Administration with regards to my "coming of age" and qualifying for Medicare?!
First I get a "Notice of Award" for Retirement, Survivors and Disability Insurance. How nice, thought I, to be awarded so nicely after all of my years of service. The letter indicates that I will soon get my Medicare card. Woohoo!
And, I did receive my magic card. Why is it that every store has plastic membership cards, and the US Government sends you a lousy paper card? Oh, and one that won't fit in the basic wallet compartment?!
So, in May I received yet another letter from the SSA. This letter informs me of a "Medicare law that requires some people to pay higher premiums for Medicare Part B and their prescription drug coverage." The letter goes on to tell me the amount I will pay. The letters continues to explain how they work hand-in-hand with the IRS and the IRS snitched and told the SSA how much income I have, and they take the MAGI (modified adjusted gross income), the sum of AGI plus certain amounts of income that are not taxable and subtract this, and add that, and peer into the clouds to arrive at some figure I need to pay. OK... my older brother kinda prepared me for this mumbo-jumbo stuff. I set that letter aside.
Next, I received a bill from Medicare as I have not elected to get my Social Security benefits yet. Oh, and I did receive another letter letting me know that I will be told later just how I would pay for my Medicare insurance, so I wasn't surprised. The surprise came when I did the math. The bill was for three times the amount the letter I received in May quoted. Ah, but the government is tricky... they billed me for three months, well in advance of my receiving any benefits from Medicare (I am still not eligible), so just maybe I wouldn't figure out that their figure was not the same as what I had been quoted in the May letter.
So, what's next? Oh, a communication in early June. This one again tells me about my monthly premium for Medicare Part B. It is not the same figure as I was sent previously. It is not the same figure as that in the bill, divided by three. It is something else, altogether. Oh, and this one states,
"We sent you another letter that explained how we determined the amount of your premium." Well, just how did you figure it out?! Why are the figures different?! Oh, my head hurts. This is so confusing!
Oh, wait. The next day I received yet another letter with the "income-related monthly adjustment amount", and this one is back to the first figure. Ay-yi-yi! Make up your mind!!
I will be on hold tomorrow, as I wait to talk to a government agent in the Medicare office. It seems that some of the communications have come from the SSA Retirement, Survivors and Disability Insurance offices in New York, and other communication has come from the SSA Medicare offices in Colorado. Would you think that agencies of the government would communicate with each other? Oh, no, that might be be too much to ask!
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