Wellness
(and Medicare)
(last worked on: April 16th, 2017)
(You're at: http://craigeroochi.neocities.org/weight.htm)
~~An affordable home and huge lot near the Oregon coast~~

* For those concerned about Medicare, "Advantage", "Part D", and supplemental ("Medigap") insurance, my wife and I are (together) shelling out about $570/month for Medicare-B plus our medigap coverage (Plan C and Plan F respectively), so I've been looking at alternatives.

The State of Oregon is making an outstanding effort to extend health care to the poor, does its own Part-D (prescription coverage) insurance which is open to everyone, and publishes an excellent guide book to help sort out the many insurance offerings which overwhelm us (with cost comparisons) through the Senior Health Insurance Benefits Assistance (SHIBA) department. For those living in other states, I caution that costs/rates vary widely, even within Oregon.

You can download the current (2017) version of it as a PDF from:

> www.oregonshiba.org

--but even with that resource, choosing the right coverage reminds me of that Monty Python movie in which a poor schmuck keeps trying to make a better deal with the Devil.

* The guide book contained a revelation for me: Medicare (alone) does not provide for an annual physical examination^. Presumably, you have to come in (or be hauled in) with a pending medical problem.

No doubt many of us walk around with diagnosable medical problems that we can jolly well live with, so perhaps our insurers would rather not encourage Docs to engage in fishing expeditions. My inference is that, on the average, early discovery and treatment costs more than just letting stuff play out --until something's manifest.

I remember an old study showing that there was no morbidity/mortality rate difference between people given annual exams and those not. Perhaps that's largely still the case --at least for the run-of-the-mill health care I can afford.

Apparently in lieu of physicals, it's recently been negotiated that Medicare subscribers are entitled to an annual "Wellness Visit". I at first had a hard copy of the 2014 Oregon guide book which stated in bold print that, during the Wellness Visit, your physician may "not" touch you or give you any kind of tests --nor should you or your doctor talk about any current medical problems or medications that you might be taking --!!

Out of this "visit", Medicare proposes that your doctor should then be able to come up with a "personalized plan to keep you healthy" :-)))

So aside from the financial exposure of only having Medicare, it does seem that you need to pay something out of pocket for an actual physical examination  --either directly or through some other insurance.

From everything I've read, not even top drawer "C" or "F" grade medigap insurance helps to get you a physical examination. The medigap terms are very explicit in that they cover only your portions of what Medicare normally covers --not extras. (I'm not an expert, so verify all information I offer here.) The various (Medicare replacement) "Advantage" plans have their own holes and pitfalls, but some of them do include an annual physical exam.

^ I have experienced occasional hands-on examination, perhaps in exploration of a specific symptom. My wife and I are given blood panels several months apart, perhaps due to tracking specific conditions. Everything's been covered by our current Medicare + medigap coverage.
 

Craig