Medicare enrollment is a headache for seniors — but the whole system’s a mess

While in the short-term the suggestion to select a plan carefully is a reasonable one, we must push for long-term reform of the current system.

SHARE Medicare enrollment is a headache for seniors — but the whole system’s a mess
medicare_and_you_2020.0.jpg

The 2020 Medicare handbook can be viewed online or downloaded at www.medicare.gov under the “publications” tab. medicare.gov

I could not agree more with Mary Mitchell’s column about Medicare open enrollment. The number of plans seniors are asked to sift through is overwhelming and frustrating.

No plan provides complete coverage. Many leave out dental services or stick seniors with unaffordable copays on their medications, as Mitchell highlighted.

As a pharmacist, I see my patients struggle with out-of-pocket costs on medications every month. And while in the short-term the suggestion to select a plan carefully is a reasonable one, we must push for long-term reform of the current system.

None of us can predict if we’ll face a new diagnosis or the worsening of a chronic illness in the next year, so even the most savvy shopper could end up with coverage that doesn’t meet their needs.

Improved Medicare for All is a straightforward solution. It eliminates complexity by covering everyone, universally, for medical, prescription, vision and dental services.

There are important differences between the House and Senate bills in terms of long-term care coverage and out-of-pocket cost of prescriptions ($0 in one, up to $200 per year in the other), but either would provide consistent and transparent healthcare coverage.

Both plans eliminate the premiums, deductibles and high copays seniors face in our current system and the excessive overhead costs and restrictive networks imposed on us by private insurance.

So this winter, certainly navigate open enrollment carefully and lean on loved ones or health care professionals who are willing to help, but at the end of that long and confusing process, write your representatives and ask them what they are doing to support Improved Medicare for All.

Shannon Rotolo, Bucktown

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Chicago city income tax is a dismal solution to ongoing financial woes

The City of Chicago needs a rule — Ideas that failed in Detroit have no place here.

The Motor City is in the midst of an amazing transformation, but its city income tax, a possibility for Chicago discussed by Ed Zotti in Sunday’s Sun-Times, gets no credit for that.Detroit’s income tax was a huge drag on the city for decades and it is foolish to expect it wouldn’t be a huge drag on Chicago.

The solution to Chicago’s problems is obvious.As well deserved as the pensions offered to city workers are, they are not sustainable. Until the Chicago moves to a defined contribution retirement plan for newly earned benefits, following the trend in the private sector, the city will keep digging the hole deeper.

Don Anderson, Oak Park

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