I have a high IQ. I know this. I don’t say this as a brag, but as an illustration of the problem. I spent my professional life writing highly technical documents which means I know how to read a document too. I need to switch from my “Medicare Advantage Plan” — the ultimate oxymoronic misnomer — to straight Medicare backed by a Medicare Supplement Plan and a Part D Prescription plan. Which is what I had before I changed to my current horrible plan.

medicare confusion

When I signed up for this plan exactly one year ago, it had maximum out-of-pocket costs of just over $2200. Next year, it would be $6700+. They haven’t raised the premium, just reduced the benefits. We do not have $6700 and could not raise it if we sold everything we own. So I need to change plans. I have to get something that will cover me really, even though the premiums will be more than triple what they are now. Mind you I can’t afford higher premiums, but I’m out of choices. My life’s on the line, so I have to make this work.

This is not A.C.A. — aka Obama Care. This is regular old Medicare. It was like this when I first signed on (2004) except the premiums and deductibles were much lower and covered more.

They’ve been raising premiums and reducing coverage for the past decade. Bit by bit, tiptoeing around — like we won’t notice. They think we are stupid.

Until two years ago, I had MassHealth (Medicaid Massachusetts-style). I really didn’t notice because MassHealth picked up whatever Medicare didn’t. When they took away MassHealth, holy moly … talk about getting whacked with a two-by-four. My head is still spinning.

Meanwhile, I have to get an answer to this question: “What steps do I need to take to change from my current medical plan, with which I am dissatisfied, to a better plan? To whom do I need to talk? What forms need filling out?”

I cannot be the only person unhappy with their plan who wants to switch. Open enrollment starts on October 15, so I’m right on target for taking care of business. I’m good at this kind of thing. Usually. Yet fifteen minutes into trying to get an answer to this question, I find myself staring at asterisks that do not lead to footnotes or other information. Statements telling me “This plan may not cover all medical expenses.” With no explanation of what that means. Doesn’t that sound a bit threatening to you? Sets my teeth on edge, lemme tell ya.


I’m smart. I’m not senile. I’m not on any mind-altering substances but my brain is turning to jelly and I’m ready to start banging my head on the table. Who wrote this stuff? The only way you can write documentation this bad is (a) be a really bad writer, and (b) not know what you’re talking about. Only with that precise combination of poor writing skills and misinformation can you produce documentation which informs no one while confusing and infuriating everyone. It doesn’t have to be this bad.

Hire me. I’ll rewrite it and when I’m done, pretty much everyone will be able to understand it. It’s not such a leap to ask that information be written clearly and organized logically.

Considering Medicare is aimed at the elderly and infirm and I — not all that elderly or infirm — cannot make heads or tails of it? Pity the folks who’ve had a stroke or just aren’t good at deciphering complicated documents.

Hello My Government! Yoohoo out there! Show some compassion. Hire some writers. Make informed decisions possible. This stuff is life or death, y’know?

Categories: #Health, Customer Service, Economics, Humor, Medical, Reality

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14 replies

  1. Oy Vey!!


  2. I wish you luck navigating this bureaucratic minefield. I’ve never seen any of the forms you’re referring to, but having seen almost unintelligible forms for quite simple things I can only imagine what a form for something as complicated as health care might be 😦


  3. We have BC/BS of Texas, Plan F. I don’t know much about it, but the “Plan F” part seems to be important. We have the no-deductible version, but there are different levels of deductibility. Only downside is that John’s in the infamous “donut hole,” but otherwise the combination of regular old Medicare and a BC/BS “Plan F” seems to work,


  4. Very well said. Bloody awful situation. xx


  5. “It’s not such a leap to ask that information be written clearly and organized logically.”
    This reminds me of reading military maintenance manuals and specifications. Sometimes the tech editor just sucks… plain and simple. Though, I don’t think you should have to rewrite the plans just to understand it. That’s a bit extreme. 🙂 I hope you get this figured it.


    • It’s totally nuts. It can’t be as complicated as it sounds. This is important information. If I can’t figure it out … who can? Do you have to be a lawyer with a specialization in Medicare to figure out what you need to do? Tech writers work pretty cheap. With all the crap on which the government spends money, surely they could afford to hire a couple of writers. A few clearly written manuals would go a long way to making people less frustrated and angry with their government. It doesn’t have to be this difficult. I’m glad I’m not the only one who has had to wade through bad manuals. It would take so little effort to fix it. Frustrating.


      • I used to write technical procedures for the defense industry. Mind you, I was the technical expert who happened to also be a decent writer; I was not, primarily, a tech writer. When my work would go to the tech editors, I would, on numerous occasions, have to explain different grammatical rules to them. They’re supposed to the last stop! They get paid to be experts in grammar and document structure! I’m afraid that most people simply don’t bother to read those documents, which is why crappy editors continue to have jobs. This was clearly evident towards the end of this job, when I was simply writing garbage and challenging the editors to catch it. They didn’t. The work was published. People supposedly used it and no one complained. To be clear, the work wasn’t incorrect, it was just sloppy. Nonetheless, it should have been caught, and I think you’re dealing with a similar issue.


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