Pondering our health insurance system
News and Views from Rita
I hope you are getting this before November 8, the date you must vote in order to exercise your privilege and duty as a citizen to choose a new president to govern our country for the next four or eight years. And I hope you have chosen wisely, especially seniors, who will be dependent on Social Security and Medicare for the rest of your lives.
If all things were right in this world, we would not be depending on profit making insurance and pharmaceutical companies but we would all be safely ensconced in Medicare, a single-payer health care system. The problem with insurance companies is that they are dependent on their insured not getting sick and only the fates can assure that. When the health insurers merge in order to get leverage over all the businesses they deal with, they can make larger profits but at the expense of the consumers. We already have a large part of our population who are living within a single-payer system and that is the people who are on Medicaid or Veterans Administration, so it would not be that cumbersome to add some more.
I would remind the people who are on Medicare Part D plans that you should be sure to check with your insurer, to see if they have changed their plans for 2017, including their formularies and costs. You can apply for a new plan from Oct. 15 until December 7. (See the plans at http://dhss.alaska.gov/dsds/Documents/Medicare/Medicare-AlaskaOptions2017.pdf )
I will be available by phone to help you find a new plan.
Rita Hatch is an Older Persons Action Group, Inc. board member and volunteers for OPAG’s Medicare assistance program. Call her at 276-1059 in Anchorage or toll-free statewide at 1-800-478-1059. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org