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A personal vent on Medicare and AIG.

June 20, 2014

*The posting ‘Cry into the empty night’ generated some emails and comments and I thought I would just mention a few of the seeds of discontent that aided the feelings reflected in that posting.

In an earlier posting I wrote about sinking in Alaskan quicksand, today I will speak a bit about three recent incidents in my life imitating nature by sucking you in and holding you tight as you squirm to free yourself. Either I have lost my ability to be patient or as I get older I am loosing my tolerance for stupidity and business in general not caring for their customers, either way take a walk with me through the mud of the business world as I encountered them.

Most of you know I am on social security and Medicare and because of the limits on my income I endeavor to watch where I spend my money. Like going to the clinic once a year to see a doctor for the ‘covered’ annual check up. This year I was told I was being referred to a cardiologist because I needed further testing. When I stopped at the cardiologists office to make the appointment I asked how much it would cost me. Because unless I am feeling pain or there is a problem I do not want to incur any new debt. The receptionist said she had no idea what the cost would be. I asked if she would find out for me and she said she hand no way to get this information.
Would you buy anything without first knowing the price?

When I first became eligible for Medicare I choose a ‘part D’ prescription provider so naturally I chose the least costly of those offered. Over the years their monthly charges have always exceeded what my prescriptions cost but I am afraid to cancel the plan because surely a week later I would have to begin some new super expensive drug and without the plan I would have to pay the entire cost myself. This year I get a notice that one of the drugs I use was going to increase to $40 from $6.00 unless I used an alternate they suggested. My doctor OK’d the switch however the pharmacist said it would still cost…$40.00. When I called AARP they said it was a mistake and they would take care of it.
Apparently they forget to ‘take care of it’ because my latest refill still cost $40.00.

I have had a ‘whole life’ insurance policy with AIG since early in 1980. It has a fixed face value and covered both myself and my wife for a set semi-annual premium of $270. In January 2013 I received a notice of an increase to over $300 then later in 2013 I received another notice that it was now over $400. I filed a complaint with the state insurance commissioner and the end result was a 40 page reply from AIG saying basically “pay up or loose the policy”. The last bill I received before I let the policy lapse said it would now cost $570 every six months.
I guess I should expect this from a company who gets federal bailout money
and does not need to care how many customers it losses.

Yes I know each one of us has stories like this to relate, it is just that these three situations happened within a short span of time and had me more frustrated than usual. This attitude of not caring seems to be permeating throughout our society . From those in tech support and the cashier at the local grocery store to some of our neighbors and the people we meet in every day life this indifference appears to be spreading. I am not saying there are not quite a number of good caring people in the world, what I am saying the mood in general in America is changing……and it is not for the better.

Could it be that the rallying cry of ‘hope and change’
has itself changed to
‘hopelessness and despair’.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Raven permalink
    June 21, 2014 8:11 pm

    Very well put! The attitude of the younger generation is not good, and I see just a handful of caring parents!

    Like

  2. June 22, 2014 8:02 am

    I hear ya Buddy!! I just posted “WTF..??” on ‘outtathebox.in’ which touched on this same topic. I understand times are tight and with the lousy economy more people are being forced to work longer and harder for less. Some of my empathy is watered down because a lot of these folks voted for Obama – TWICE!!! – so they are getting exactly what they asked for in terms of governance and policies but there are lots of folks in similar situations who didn’t vote for our ‘Bungler In Chief’. I do feel for them.

    American business along with the multinational corporations have largely been putting the screws to their workforce; they are in the perfect position to do so because the economy is so poor and even average paying jobs are few and far between. Most of my peers are still employed and virtually all of them bemoan ‘the good ole days’ of the 80’s and even 90’s when we might still have seen recessions but they were resolved fairly quickly and afterward the economy was generally better with even more well paying positions available. Now companies can really force their employees to handle far more work for less pay and cut benefits to boot; if someone complains they are basically told there are ten people waiting for their job and don’t let the door hit them in the butt on the way out. This is just a disgusting situation but also one which will not change until the economy picks up steam; I’m much less confident the job market will ever again come close to what we saw in the mid to late 90’s mainly because we’ve lost so many opportunities in manufacturing and similar high paying employment opportunities to overseas outsourcing.

    A lot of the work force is slowly being ground down to nothing by longer hours and immensely increased work loads; back fifteen or twenty years a person in such a position would have just quietly started looking and found another job that paid the same or better. For most this is no longer an option. Add to this mix a younger generation which largely believes they are entitled to so much previous generations had to earn and you have an almost perfect brew to generate a decided lack of civility and optimism in the work place. Given this I’m not surprised so many folks are edgy and willing to display more negativism and lack of civility in general. Then mix in the social decay we’re seeing regarding basic manners and morals in the name of ‘political correctness’ and social ‘progressiveness’ and I sometimes find it surprising things aren’t actually worse then they appear. We’re also seeing the first generation raised on the Internet; so many people feel they do not need to be civil or polite when they are ‘anonymous’ on-line so they really unload. This is why I dropped off all forms of social media except blogging; I began tired of the idiotic whining coupled with the complete lack of civility and the runaway vitriol.

    In my blog I wondered if maybe we shouldn’t all just step back, take a deep breath and remember ‘The Golden Rule’. Whenever we’re faced with a decision or involved in communicating with others we should always think about what we’re doing and saying from the context of; “Would I want to be talked to or handled in the manner I’m now doing to these other folks?”. Such a simple thing yet I believe it could go a long way to restoring civility and manners. But no one can give this to anyone else; it requires work on everyone’s part to make something like this happen..!

    Like

  3. June 23, 2014 5:06 am

    The day I spoke to you in a parking lot in Fairbanks was a less than stellar one. Young folks with carts stopped in the middle of the aisle without leaving room to get by while they jaw-jacked and gossiped. I simply bumped their cart and walked past, to which they commented on how rude I was. A man was handling everything on his shelf of interest, pulling it out and putting it back – in another spot. I could see the frustration mounting on the stocker’s face as he watched the man rearrange about an hour of his afternoon – again – with absolutely no thought for the unnecessary work he’d created with his inconsideration. The cashier checked me out completely and found his register locked up. As we stood there, waiting for one item after another to finally pop up on the little display and commenting on how it was taking at least 3 minutes per item to catch up, the folks in line behind me made no effort to hide their irritation and impatience, commenting on his ineptitude, my causing them lost time, and generally improving the entire ambience with their really terrific humor and adaptation to a situation nobody had any control over. Big huffs and sighs and eye-rolling, everyone behind me finally moved to another line but there I was, waiting for the last item until, finally, a supervisor came and reset the machine – which meant I had to start all over, in another line, long after everyone behind me had checked out and gone their way. I looked at the cashier and commented on his graciousness in spite of the rude comments. He merely shrugged and said every day was the same, everyone was in a hurry, and nobody cared about anybody else. He must have been all of 20 years of age.

    I, too, find myself less tolerant of much and, at the same time, more tolerant of much other. I detest the pervasive attitude of deserving, of entitlement, of me-first and screw you. Where people used to be grateful for a clean bed on the road, they now mention the silverware might not match or the water glass is too big. They leave enormous messes behind for someone else to clean up and neglect to thank anyone for what they may have done to make life a little bit pleasant.

    I like people. Until I don’t. I like them even less than I did when I didn’t like them, but I find myself tolerating some things more than others. Selfish people win nothing from me, and I’m instantly pissed – completely torched off – when a me-first attitude presents itself. It’s everywhere, and I am biding my time until I vacate the populated places. The plan is in place, and anyone who knows me will only be amused that it took me so long to go back. Truly, I empathize with your sentiments about the government, bailouts and handouts, and will not look back when I finally walk away. Otherwise, my day is good. ;-)

    Like

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