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Monday, January 14, 2019

Top Billing

stilton’s place, stilton, political, humor, conservative, cartoons, jokes, hope n’ change, medicare, evil rich, government, cortez, bitch session

Today's post is a straight up bitch session, although it technically doesn't involve Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Maxine Waters, Kamala Harris, or Joy Behar. No, we mean "bitch" in the sense of a complaint...in this case related to our first round of paying bills for 2019.

Specifically, we discovered that the government, in its infinite wisdom, has tripled the cost of Medicare coverage for the reasonably healthy Mr and Mrs Jarlsberg, owing to the unforgivable sin of our lofty perch amongst the evil rich.

Only we aren't rich. And not really very evil. Rather, a couple of years ago we took some investment money out of our personal retirement account (rather than going on Social Security) and put it in the bank to pay our bills with. And it was admittedly a tidy amount, owing to the fact that it was intended to cover all of our expenses for a couple of years. And of course, we paid a massive amount of income tax on the withdrawal rather than subjecting ourselves to life on the run and/or repeated prison shower rapes.

But apparently, this still didn't fulfill our duty to the state. Which is why the Social Security Administration just gifted us with an IRMAA (Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount) which triples our joint Medicare payments to approximately $1000 a month.

Granted, a lot of people are paying way more than that for insurance now that Obamacare has more than doubled prices while slashing benefits. But still, after paying into our Medicare policy for over 40 years (paying double, in fact, being self-employed) we're still a little nonplussed by this sudden uptick in charges. And we also find ourselves wondering how many of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's snot-nosed social media followers would be demanding "Medicare For All" if they knew their "free" health care was going to cost them a grand a month up front (not including skyrocketing taxes)?

Fortunately, our Medicare premiums should drop back down next year when the government looks at our actual somewhat pitiful income. Assuming that the government shutdown isn't still going on by then...


29 comments:

M. Mitchell Marmel said...

I suppose this is why they're called "premiums".

"Bend over and grab your ankles" already being taken.

As it were.

Anonymous said...

WE are actively generous, sharing & helpful people up-close to friends, family & even others. But this is yet another reason why politicians, professional fund raisers, supposedly "concerned about something" organizations, & "Gimme something just for asking people" are wasting their time & postage with us. Until our remains are blowing in the wind; we may still need what we obtained by hard work. Then our kids & theirs can carry on.

Geoff King said...

Since I become eligible for Medicare in less than 4 months, I can only hope my pauper status yields better results than what you have had to endure. As I am also self employed and currently without health insurance, I will hope for the best. Actually, my health is pretty good, and I have not even seen a doctor in decades. However, age does appear to be catching up with me, as now some of my minor aches and pains seem to not be as minor or as short lived as they used to be.
The way I look at it, I have done enough and seen enough that life owes me nothing. Were I to die tomorrow, I would likely have a smile on my face.

Brie Camembert said...

The government gives and the government takes away. Praise the name of the government.

REM1875 said...

Govt run health insurance ........... what could go wrong ???

Lloyd said...

I sold a business and jumped into the highest Medicare premium. That caused a delay in my marriage by two years to spare my spouse from the same high premiums. We are now back at the normal premium level. Like you I was self employed, payed 50% to the government while working,paid taxes when I sold the business then got to pay Medicare the “ success”tax. Not complaining....it’s a great life and a wonderful country.

Dr. Roger Harris said...

I've seen estimates that ILLEGAL aliens cost tax payers $70,000.00 /year. I get a bit over $14,000.00 / year, 60% disability (cardiovascular disease) VA benefits for exposure to agent orange while in Vietnam and serving with a USMC combat battalion. Freebies for illegals??? No problemo for the DEM NIMRODS IN CONGRESS.

Fish Out of Water said...

All I can say is thank God. I am still covered by Blue Cross Blue Sheild under wife unit's employer plan. Until its absolutely unavoidable, I do not wish to avail myself of the " benefits" of Part B.

Gpa J said...

Try the Social Security form SSA-44 or call Social Security @ 800-772-1213 and explain the income change. You may be able to get an adjustment on your premiums.

rf_in_va@yahoo.com said...

Never knew that Medicare had floating costs for their medical coverage rates. I pay $135.50 a month and don't have a supplemental as that cost is more than what I pay for my 20% and I found that the supplemental companies take over all interactions with doctors which I like to do for myself. I would be interested to find out why they charge people with larger incomes more for medical coverage.

Mudhead said...

Hey Doc, my day is incomplete without reading your stuff. I love it. Gpa is correct, but your 401 cashout won't qualify. You can thank the Medicare Modernization act of 2003 for the premium adjustment. Bush 43 signed it. Since its inception, the Medicare Part B premium charged has represented 25% of the actual cost of the coverage. The remainder has been paid out of general revenues. So, Medicare premiums have been subsidized by 75% regardless of one's ability to pay them. This law changed that. If there was a sudden reduction in your income because of a life changing event such as retirement, work reduction, death of spouse, divorce, etc, SSA will review the circumstance with you & reduce the premium accordingly. Lloyd-you should file a form SSA-44 (google it) with your local office.

Anonymous said...

Just curious: Is Ex-Pat Costa Rica (or some other elsewheres) looking any better?
Maybe not yet but give it few more years. This place is not looking so good for the future.
And neither big party cares. Not smart enough.

Igor said...

No good deed goes unpunished, Stilt.

John Fernau said...

The sad thing is when I opened your main page the ad at the top was for medicarM supplemental insurance plans. Can you say irony? Thank God due to being a military retiree I get to go on a fairly decent plan for a fairly low rate, at least till I get into my sixty's.

Sandy Link said...

Don't forget Mazie Hirono D-HI in your list of bitches. If medicare is there to help us almost pay for part of our medical bills it will certainly take a front seat when we worry ourselves sick that we won't be able to pay what medicare doesn't cover. Double whammy. How about these elected officials be forced to live on medicare insurance only for a year and see what happens? The high and mighty will tumble quickly.

Gee M said...

I thoroughly believe, and have stated as such, that the single worst decision I made during my tenure as President was to appoint Ruth BADER GINSBERG to the Supreme Court.

__ Abraham Lincoln

John the Econ said...

Every time some Democrat utters "Medicare for All!" I have to shake my head, because clearly they haven't a freekin clue what they're talking about, or are hoping you don't. They're selling Medicare as some sort of magic system where when old people think you need health care, they just show up for it and there's no money or paperwork involved. (Actually, that's more like "Medicaid", and you really don't want that) Most people don't discover this until they approach 65, and then are confronted with the amazingly complex choices they have to make before they enroll. And making the wrong choice can be economically devastating for your retirement years.

I confronted it early, in my 40s when helping my parents who both had health issues enroll. When going through all the materials, all I could think was if this is so confusing to a couple of college educated professionals, how do the less sophisticated have any chance?

I am going to correct @Stilton on one point. He didn't pay double for being self-employed. He (as have I) paid the full "transparent" rate. For the rest of you, your employer supposedly pays half. But you can just consider that the half that they didn't pay you. It's just another trick the government plays on you to make you believe you're being taxed less than you really are. Suckers!

So I sympathize with the Jarlsberg family. I thought it was supposed to be "free". I thought they'd already paid for it after a lifetime of paying Medicare taxes. You're right, @Stilton. Occasional-Cortex's followers will be in for a rude awakening should she ever get her way and discover that "Medicare for All" is actually worse than ObamaCare.

Speaking of: This morning's coffee spew goes to Terry McAuliffe which I am currently listening to. He's riffing on Trump's wall because it's expensive and will be ineffective and pointless. He then seamlessly transitions to things he thinks Trump should be dealing with, like health care, because somehow a government that can't manage a couple thousand people a day at our borders can somehow pay for and manage the health care of 350-million people.

If a government can't handle the basic and comparatively simple problems of governance like protecting a nation's borders, anyone who thinks they can manage health care is insane.

Colby Muenster said...

This was NOT the post I wanted to see on my 14th day of being on Medicare after dropping my work group plan! Holy schmoley!

Mrs. Muenster and I have plans on pulling a rather sizeable chunk of my 401k to take the trip to Scotland that she has been dreaming about for, oh, 45+ years. We might want to check what that would do to our Medicare payments first, right?

Sorry you took it in the shorts, Stilton, but I'm glad you gave us the heads up!

@John the Econ,
McAuliffe came from the Scottish clan that was famous for claiming you could make a kilt longer by cutting a foot off one end and sewing it on the other. Seriously, people who have thought processes like his alarm the living shit out of me. For example, I'm still pissed about the $150 BILLION that O'Liar handed over to Iran (who will use it to blow up mass quantities of Christians and Jews), but O'Liar and his ilk are aghast that Trump would want to spend $5.7 billion to keep drugs, murderers and rapists out. Consider my mind boggled!

Fish Out of Water said...

I'm surprised McAuliffw hasn't thrown his name into what promises to be an interesting democratic party primary melee. Unless he's waiting for the field to clear somewhat.

Fish Out of Water said...

While I am open to other points of view, listening to the thankfully former governor of The Commonwealth is not what I'd be doing as, a.) He'll not stray from his ideological pen, and b.) I'd like to not raise my blood pressure.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@M. Mitchell Marmel- I vote we change the name to "screamiums."

@Anonymous- BOOM! You're exactly right! The socialists would say that I have more money than I need by dint of the fact that I haven't spent it all. Well just MAYBE I'd like to have a reserve of my own (not government dependency) in case of future illness, or the need to care for my daughter who has health challenges. What I see as responsibility and independence, the Leftists see as "money hoarding." The rat bastards.

@Geoff King- That's one of the things about aging; we USED to get aches and pains that would eventually go away. Now, they just become part of our personal inventory. I'm glad to hear about your good health and general life satisfaction, though. Now if I were to die tomorrow, it would be the government smiling because they never had to pay back any of the benefits for which I've prepaid over the last 45 years.

@Brie Camembert- Wait, the government gives? I want to stand in that line!

@REM1875- Only everything.

@Lloyd- Yep, that's how it works. Get a one-time bounce in your income and suddenly you're reclassified as being one of the evil rich, with appropriate punishment forthcoming. And you're right about it being a "success tax." And even the Dems know that you only tax what you want less of.

@Dr. Roger Harris- I've seen amazing/depressing stats on the way benefits can add up for illegals, allowing them to end up with much more "wealth" than someone working a respectable full-time job. It ain't right.

@Fish Out of Water- It actually seems like the benefits of Medicare aren't too bad once you get them. Although it's baffling to me to try to keep straight 8 different insurance policies now - Medicare, Medicare B, Medicare G, and Medicare D for both my wife and myself. Playing fast and loose with the prices is just icing on the cake.

@Gpa J- I'll look into it, but I'm not hopeful. I legitimately took the money out of a tax-sheltered retirement account. My mistake was thinking that paying the exorbitant taxes on that money would redeem me of my social sins. Apparently not.

@rf-In-va@yahoo.com- Medicare charges people like me more money because I have it. I'm just glad that the same standard isn't applied every time I fill up with gas or buy a loaf of bread.

@Mudhead- Thanks for the additional info. That confirms what I was thinking. Next year, my premiums should drop because I'll show almost no income whatsoever for 2018. I didn't take any money out of retirement account because in the last quarter of the year, my investments got absolutely pillaged and I didn't want to "sell low."

@Anonymous- I'm too old and set in my ways to move to Costa Rica. Not that I'd hear much more Spanish than is spoken here in Texas, though.

@Igor- Truer words were never spoken. Although we still need to do good deeds, just to keep the bad guys confused.

@John Fernau- I'm guessing that Google, which makes this platform available for free, scanned my text and stuck in that ad without realizing the irony.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@Sandy Link- My list of bitches wasn't comprehensive (grin). And yes, yes, YES put our politicians on Obamacare and Medicare without perks and privileges!

@Gee M- Especially considering that even at the time, RBG was four score and twenty years old.

@John the Econ- Speaking of paperwork, I know of more than one doctor who has gotten out of medicine entirely rather than put up with Medicare (and insurance company) paperwork. Today, in fact, I had an appointment with a professional (working on my "Stilton's Palsy" condition) mention that she hadn't been billing for any of my treatment yet because she hasn't gotten approval from Medicare yet to do so. We hear about the poor government bastards who aren't getting paid during the shutdown, and who live check to check - and I'm not without sympathy. But why then shouldn't we similarly feel sorry for professionals who go weeks or months without pay because the system is so screwed up?

And you're entirely right that a government that can't manage a wall can't manage the infinite intricacies of healthcare for our nation.

@Colby Muenster- Hopefully you'll be okay, but it IS worth doing a little checking to see how much that withdrawal might affect your payments. I would never have known that the two were related. And Scotland, huh? Dang, I'd like to see Scotland...

@Fish Out of Water- Trust me, he'll be getting into the race at some point.

James Daily said...

I found a govt shutdown this morning. I tried to log into my ss account and no go so tried to call, phone shut off. Oh, the humanity. Then again, maybe it was just me.
Stilt: It is amazing what all the govt keeps tabs on the citizens and we have no idea of the extent of that. What I have read about is pretty bad.

FlyBoy said...

Hey, Stilt: You just need to move to New York City where the commie-lib mayor says he’ll take care of everything!

Old Cannonballs said...

I thought it was just California, but it looks like the whole country is determined to become a Venezuela-style failed socialist state. The icing on the cake was listening to a talk by Peter Schiff this morning that included the chilling line "...when the socialists take control in 2021..."

B.C. said...

I hereby nominate reamiums as the term for the rectum-shredding extortion being applied to the bank accounts of the ever-shrinking productive class of U.S. citizens.

Only so much blood can be squeezed from us turnips before Concord will look like a child's tea party. (Pun? You decide.)

Holy Mudhead Mackerel said...

@James Daily-The Social Security Administration is fully funded for FY 2019. It sounds like the union (AFGE) may be trying to pull a fast one at your local office.

John the Econ said...

McAuliffe: Former governor of Virginia, suburb of DC largesse. So whatever success he can claim was largely paid for by the rest of us.

The plight of the hapless subcontractor: Yes, I do have a certain degree of sympathy for the hapless subcontractors who unlike Federal employees will not be receiving back pay for what will effectively be an unscheduled paid vacation. However, no matter what business you are in, there are risks that must be factored in to your business plan. And if you're a government subcontractor, "government shutdowns" needs to be one of them. Like most of you here, I've never received back pay for government screw-ups or malfeasance.

The doctor I liked: My former doctor that I liked very much was already eschewing Medicare patients before the advent of ObamaCare for the reasons you cite, @Stilton. Post ObamaCare, she finally cried "Uncle!" and shuttered her independent practice to go finish out her career at one of those impersonal hospital chain mega-practices that ObamaCare's overhead requirements made inevitable.

California, preview of a Venezuela-style failed socialist state: With the seemingly eminent bankruptcy of PG&E, there's talk of the state taking over the beleaguered utility. Because whatever the faults of the people who currently run PG&E, can anyone imagine the Democrats of California running it any better? Perhaps they can finally shut down those evil nuclear and fossil-fuel plants and show us what it's like living the green dream.

But I got some good news out of California: After banning the ecological and health nemesises of plastic bags and straws, they're now laser-focused on eliminating the toxic scourge of paper receipts.

Actually, this is great for my business, as I provide and manage software to many businesses in California that will now have to be modified at great expense. It's fun to be the beneficiary instead of the victim of government meddling for a change!

Reamiums: I like it.

Anonymous said...

Monday 14th suggested reworded statement:

Granted, a lot of people are paying way more than that for insurance now that Obamacare (So called: “Affordable” Care Act) has more than doubled prices while slashing benefits. But still, after paying into our (Social Security fund) for over 40 years (paying double, in fact, being self-employed) we're still a little nonplussed by this sudden uptick in charges. And we also find ourselves wondering how many of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's snot-nosed social media followers would be demanding "Medicare For All" if they knew their "free" health care was going to cost them a grand a month up front (not including skyrocketing taxes)?

Fortunately, our “Affordable” Care Act premiums should drop back down next year when the government looks at our actual somewhat pitiful income. Assuming that the government shutdown isn't still going on by then... (Not like Obama’s “tough” shutdowns where no one worked, Trumps shut down means Social Security IS WORKING - with emphasis on CARE.)