HAAS-TA LA VISTA: Seniors, look before you leap

October 14, 2012

I know I don’t look it, but I am a senior citizen.

Werner Haas is a West Hollywood writer whose latest novel is named "Wasps."

I hate that term. But not as much as someone simply calling me “old.”

Or worse, people asking me “Are you retired?”

What has happened of course is that I am eligible and am taking advantage of Medicare and its various supplemental plans.

Unlike Mitt the Liar, I am entitled- having worked somewhere or been self-employed since the age of 12.

However, during the next weeks, there is a season called “Medicare signing.”

There are a multitude of ads on the radio and TV from various health care providers, often with smiling gray and white haired men and women and their children and grandchildren proclaiming how wonderful this plan or that is and how nice its providers are.

My advice to fellow oldsters, don’t let these ads fool you.

Read the specifics of the various companies. Read the fine print, the inclusions and exclusions. And take my advice- don’t even trust the fine print.

These people want to make a profit.

They may reduce your co-pays, and at the same time reduce payments to your doctors, making your doctors take less time and perhaps even care a little less because they are literally being ripped off my these health insurance providers.

The health and wellness industry is a huge business and a very profitable one.

That includes all the companies making or outsourcing drugs.

The longer we live, the more medications we may need. And, with all those big pharma ads on network newscasts, more and more people are deciding that their aches and pains match what the ads are featuring and want their doctors to prescribe the expensive drugs.

We seniors need more pills, some of us more than ever.

We also may need more frequent visits to our doctors and the more care we need, the more it really costs someone. And that someone is usually us.

We are at the mercy of all these companies vying for our copays. But, all plans are not alike.

All companies do not offer comprehensive plans as some others may.

So, my suggestion to fellow seniors- look over ALL the plans.

Read and discuss them with friends and family.

More important of all, ask people who are using that plan to see how satisfied they really are.

The old slogan caveat emptor, “buyer beware,” is more vital for us graybeards than ever.

There should be no ceiling on wellness. But there should be no gouging to maintain our standards of life, either.



Werner Haas is a West Hollywood writer whose latest novel is named "Wasps." Summary: Long Island is no longer a place for complacent suburbanites. It is now a festering ground for anti-social activity by bored or power-hungry teens.

The Wasps is a story of such a neo-Nazi gang made up of otherwise "ordinary" middle-class young people.

Get "Wasps" here.