In September of this year, I will officially be over the hill. One of the many pleasures of reaching age 65 is having to deal with Medicare and Social Security, two programs that I’m certain were designed by the Nazis.
When I retired and visited my local S.S. office to determine what my best options were, I waited in line for 45 minutes before I could speak to a representative. What I discovered is that Social Security is basically a royal screw job. If I don’t wait to collect until my full retirement age, I lose 50% of my benefit if I earn over 14 grand a year. So in order for me to receive a benefit now without any penalties, I have to either find a job that pays me under the table and break the law, live on my savings, or earn below the poverty level. When I think about how much I’ve contributed to the S.S. system over the last 45 years as compared to what my likely return will be, it actually makes me want to vomit.
And if you think Social Security is a flawed program, wait until you have to deal with Medicare. I’m a pretty intelligent guy (or at least I think I am), but trying to understand every aspect of Medicare so that you can make an educated decision on what plan will work best for you is nothing short of a nightmare. First off, there is Medicare Plan A, B, C and D. And then there is Medicare Advantage. But there is also an A, B, C, D, E, F and J. plan that have nothing to do with A, B, C and D. And of course there are also a gazillion supplemental plans available, each one inundated with fine print.
After I crunched all the numbers and figured out what plan(s) would give me the most coverage for the least money, I discovered that under Medicare, it will cost me three times as much as I’m paying for health insurance currently. And the best part of this is that I have no choice. I am required by law to sign up for Medicare before my 65th birthday or face a hefty penalty even though my monthly premium will triple.
There are lots of things to love about the land of the free and the home of the brave, but I’m here to tell you that Social Security and Medicare aren’t on that short list.