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Old 12-10-2009, 09:18 AM   #21
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I hope they pass it too. You cannot assume you are going to be healthy up to the point of eligibility. As many of you know I was unfortunate enough to get cancer this year. I have great insurance now. I want to retire next year. My employer said it's only staying in the insurance game until 2013. Assuming I live that long how do I buy health insurance with a pre-existing condition? IMHO this is the most important aspect of any national health insurance program.
My wife and I are in a position similar to Ratface...ie; insured but not "insurable". We currently pay about $650/month each for a pretty basic 80/20 plan with a $3000-$4000? max out of pocket per year. Covers very little "preventive" type charges. This was a "continuation" Blue Cross plan available after Cobra ran out. While a bit expensive we are very glad to have the coverage.

For the 55-65 age group with existing medical "issues" I was hoping for two primary changes.

1) Eliminate pre-existing condition requirement in an insurance application

2) Require "community rating" for all policies...ie; price policy in a manner similar to what a large group gets for pricing...perhaps allow a small "administration" upcharge for extra paper work vs large employer plan

My two requests would primarily help those in my circumstances...ie; 55-65...pre-exisiting conditions...with desire to shop insurance markets for best coverage w/o limitation of pre-exisiting conditions. The question of age pricing is one I have not thought through. Should and "new" insurance be completly age priced...should there be broad age banding - say 10 year bands 40-50/50-60, etc...or should all ages be priced into policy pricing. Obviously, I would not mind pricing like large groups which only have one composite price regardless of age.

BTW...I have had health insurance coverage continuosly since late teens...not a case of trying to get coverage only after finding out we need it.

I realize that congress has multiple issues other than mine to address

I also realize that since we are soon 63...we are unlikley to benefit much by the current proposal...but will probably pay for it one way or another.

FWIW on a COLD day in Minnesota TomCat
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Old 12-10-2009, 11:38 AM   #22
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but will probably pay for it one way or another.
Now there is a sure bet!
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Old 12-11-2009, 03:05 PM   #23
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I fail to see how adding millions of beneficiaries age 55+ to a system that is plagued with billions of dollars of fraud and abuse annually and slated to cave in in about 5 years, is a good idea for anyone.
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Old 12-11-2009, 04:12 PM   #24
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I have not been able to figure out how this bill would effect me or DW. I am concerned however that it will lead to a doctor shortage, and it will break the piggy bank. Medicare can not be paid for as is. I don't see how this new bill is going to be paid for, and I don't think congress knows or cares.
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Old 12-11-2009, 04:12 PM   #25
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I fail to see how adding millions of beneficiaries age 55+ to a system that is plagued with billions of dollars of fraud and abuse annually and slated to cave in in about 5 years, is a good idea for anyone.
You miss the part where they are going to save 436 billion over the next 10 years. I wouldn't get worked up about it, recent reports this idea is DOA.
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Old 12-11-2009, 06:01 PM   #26
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Medicare at age 55 would allow baby boomers to retire earlier and reduce unemployment.

Below is what I've been emailing to assorted senators. It won't be popular with folks who aren't earning wages...

Medicare for folks starting at age 55 is a great idea. But let's make sure Medicare is financially sound by making
ALL sources of income subject to the 1.45% Medicare tax, not just wages. An employee earning $50,000 pays $725 in Medicare taxes. Their employer also pays $725 in Medicare taxes on those same wages. But a landlord pays $0 Medicare taxes on $100,000 of rental income. A shareholder pays $0 Medicare taxes on $200,000 of dividend income, and a hedge fund manager pays $0 Medicare taxes on $1,000,000 of income treated as capital gains. Why are we only taxing the working class and employers for Medicare and not the investor class? (Iím a landlord and a shareholder so this would raise my taxes, but Iíd go along with it because itís fair.) Maybe we could reduce the Medicare tax rate slightly or increase Medicare's reimbursement rate if the investor class paid its fair share.


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Old 12-11-2009, 06:52 PM   #27
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I don't see how this new bill is going to be paid for, and I don't think congress knows or cares.
The Senate is in a giant flail to put together any sort of Frankenbill and get it passed before the public discontent grows even stronger. Over 60% of Americans now oppose this legislation, and opposition is continuing to grow. Despite months of planning and deliberation, the idea of adding millions of people to Medicare wasn't part of any of the proposals before last week, now it's been thrown into the plan as a last-minute sop to keep this bill alive. It's a direct federal takeover of the health care of millions of Americans--it can't be part of a compromise, since it's more radical than the public option that was being hawked originally.

Any thought that the legislature was going to put together a carefully thought-through plan is long gone. It's now just a bunch of disconnected patches and scraps designed to buy off one or two votes here and there.

Here's the new standard for this highly complex issue that seeks to take over 17% of the US GDP, as expressed by Senator Max Baucus:
" If there's 60 Senators who can reach agreement, I'm for it."

Incredible.

I'm surprised the medical professionals in the US aren't quitting the AMA in droves. The organization signed on to support this "reform" in exchange for protection from Medicare cuts. Ha!. The joke is on them! If this thing passes, their members will be treating even more Medicare patients at ridiculously low reimbursement rates, and the number of privately insured (who have traditionally picked up the slack) will significantly decline. Like the lady who thought she could ride the tiger, the AMA ended up inside. Weasels.
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Old 12-11-2009, 07:06 PM   #28
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Medicare at age 55 would allow baby boomers to retire earlier and reduce unemployment.

That's ridiculous. Boomers retire for many reasons, but Medicare would not ever be a reason to retire. As for unemployment, the only way to reduce unemployment is to get a job, not get insurance.
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Old 12-11-2009, 07:39 PM   #29
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Eligibility for Medicare does influence baby boomers' decisions as to when they can retire. It certainly will influence mine. And if someone retires, then a job opens up for someone else who is unemployed. Why do you think they invented social security back in the great depression? To get older workers out of the job market.
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Old 12-11-2009, 08:01 PM   #30
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I'm surprised the medical professionals in the US aren't quitting the AMA in droves.
Quit them decades ago because of their one-agenda platform of supporting whatever maximized the income of private practice, regardless of the issues of conscience that went along with that stance. I think they have changed little, but now they are not sure which plan supports their perplexing agenda.

Other groups like the American College of Physicians have proposed much more thoughtful positions while avoiding radical solutions.
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Old 12-11-2009, 09:17 PM   #31
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Below is what I've been emailing to assorted senators. It won't be popular with folks who aren't earning wages...
Great question! I have always felt that the middle income w2 earners get shafted with supporting the low income retirees.
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Old 12-12-2009, 08:42 AM   #32
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That's ridiculous. Boomers retire for many reasons, but Medicare would not ever be a reason to retire. As for unemployment, the only way to reduce unemployment is to get a job, not get insurance.
Uh? HI is the biggest unknown for an ER, and if HI went away, I would be ER already.
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Old 12-12-2009, 09:13 AM   #33
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Reading the threads here 'Can I retire', or 'I plan on retiring when', one thing always pops up.

Health Cost.

When looking at health cost most here, especially those close to 65, say something like 'until I turn 65 and Medicare kicks in'.

Based on those post I conclude that many in the 55 to 65 catagory would retire if the health care part of their retirement was solidified.
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Old 12-12-2009, 09:49 AM   #34
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I work with a building full of people who would retire if they could get SS before 65. However, I agree with the posts upthread who question how adding all these folks could possibly reduce costs.
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Old 12-13-2009, 08:37 PM   #35
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With Lieberman and Nelson saying they won't go for this Medicare expansion (link), it might be dead.

This would be a good time for Reid to stop the sausage machine. Take a break. Go home and see the constituents. Then in January get back to work on a realistic bipartisan approach that incrementally tackles this problem in a cost-effective way. I think a majority of Americans and legislators see a need to significantly alter and improve how we pay for and deliver health care. Now that everyone has gotten a good scare by seeing how bad the "answer" could be and how close we came to living it, maybe this is a rare window of opportunity to get something done.
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Old 12-13-2009, 10:11 PM   #36
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Now that everyone has gotten a good scare by seeing how bad the "answer" could be and how close we came to living it, maybe this is a rare window of opportunity to get something done.
Do you still believe in Santa Claus too?
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Old 12-14-2009, 07:26 AM   #37
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I must be missing something, I thought early medicare people would pay the entire cost of their medicare premiums, $630 per month per person is the number tossed around.

So how would that hurt medicare?
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Old 12-14-2009, 07:48 AM   #38
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I must be missing something, I thought early medicare people would pay the entire cost of their medicare premiums, $630 per month per person is the number tossed around.

So how would that hurt medicare?
Five reasons:
1) Even if these new enrollees paid the same as other Medicare recipients, Medicare is going broke because the $$ going in to Medicare do not cover the $$ going out.
2)Some (a majority?) of these people are paying Medicare taxes today while they are working. Some of these people will quit working if they qualify for Medicare and no longer need their employer-provided coverage. So, people who used to be paying into Medicare and getting no services (yet) would suddenly become net "takers." That hurts Medicare.
3) Medicare payments to doctors today do not cover the cost of care. The unpaid costs get shifted to other users of the medical care system (primarily private insurers). So, adding more Medicare recipients will drive up costs for everyone else with insurance.
4) Because Medicare doesn't pay the prevailing rate for many services, many medical providers will no longer see Medicare patients. In some areas and in some specialties this has resulted in considerable waiting lists for people on Medicare. Adding more recipients will add to the waiting lists. This helps break Medicare further.
5) All the problems above will be exacerbated when the number of people seeking "in" to Medicare as they reach 55 explodes. This will happen because (as noted above) the cost-shifting to private insurers will drive rates up. Employers will find it much cheaper to pay the fine and drop these workers (or all workers) off their employer-sponsored coverage. So, people who formerly were on private insurance will join the ranks of the Medicare insured, which will continue to drive up private costs, etc. It's the same cycle many believe would have happened when the other "public option" was being considered.
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Old 12-14-2009, 09:13 AM   #39
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Sam,
I think you also have to include the 'existing conditions' group in the mix.
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Old 12-15-2009, 11:57 AM   #40
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I am one of the under 65 crowd that would ER today if I could enroll in medicare. There are thousands, if not millions, of us out there. Someone else could have this job if I didn't have to worry about healthcare. Even if it cost me $600-$700, still better than dying in this office while life passes me by.
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