We are the new Explorers
The medical world has moved into a new house. We will need to be educated.
One thing is certain for us – we are forging ahead in uncharted waters. The current population over 60 years old is the largest it has ever been. This population has saved for retirement, paid Social Security from the beginning of our work life. We have been led to believe Medicare and Social Security would be there to pickup the modest amount our retirement wouldn’t. While early in 2000 we became aware of some truly misrepresented facts and then when our economy plummeted in 2004, 2005 and 2006, we also became aware of serious problems with our retirement funding. Although we had saved, measured and in many cases met with a financial advisor, we now find some serious problems with our retirement.
This is especially true for those of us expecting to retire on a very modest sum supplemented by Social Security. We had managed our medical care believing that it would pick up the bulk of our medical. And what made all the worse was when we had been given the opportunity to pay into an IRA with tax deferred until retirement. Now what to do, especially for those who do not have a clear understanding of our medical benefits, such as they are, which is very clouded to say the least.
When we were younger and had a medical need we knew immediately who to go to. Our doctor, the one we saw most often, oh sure there might be a time when our medical provider would refer us to the other person while we were in the office. Medications were ordered while we were there and we received information about our condition or routine medical testing while there. Our doctor knew us by sight and would often acknowledge us, even when seeing us out side of his office.
Now fast forward to 2015, if we are lucky we may see our physician once a year. If we are referred it may be 6 months before we see the physician we are referred too. Or better yet, we won’t even see that physician rather we will see the medication nurse or be told to go to the Emergency Room. The physician we are referred to may just refer us on to a surgeon or other specialist. And should we need paperwork signed to get specialized medical equipment, well that will require another medical appointment.
This would be laughable if it weren’t so true. There is a shortage of medical providers in our country. Yes, it is possible that our providers have just decided they are not being paid enough, however here is what is coming to light. It isn’t what medical providers get as income that is the problem, they can even take less and are fine with that, except for the Malpractice Insurance and Medicaid Patients. The new health care provided for Medicaid patients to be spread out across the wealth of providers, and this would provide not only the avenue to refer patients but also, make sure all providers share in the group who couldn’t pay for the services necessary.
Using this blueprint for care that all patients would get the best care possible, well think again. Upon bringing in (or enrolling the uninsured) we now see that the numbers were far greater that was expected, let alone the system was designed to handled. The medical care wave that began with enrollment is now swooping over the ancillary services. While achieving the tidal wave of physician’s running from the care giving rolls, due to the blueprint not providing for Malpractice Insurance we are currently reaching the Pharmaceuticals and moving into the durable medical equipment. There are many reasons why the medical care machine ran aground, primarily due to a vastly underestimated numbers in need. The physicians still practicing are those who need to pay off student loans and those who truly love what they are doing.
There is a ripple of a new way to practice medicine. This is being watched closely by many; fee for service. In other words once the patient makes a decision on the provider – the payment will pay a monthly amount to the provider regardless whether they are seen during that month, alternating with being seen more often when necessary (this is where the decision is made how much a patient will pay during the month. We shall see how often the monthly fee will need to be raised or if the prescriptions for medicine and durable medical equipment will be another monthly fee. Because through all this we must remember that the bulk of the population is moving quickly into retirement and finding that perhaps we could or should have taken better care of our bodies.
The next five years will teach us volumes regarding how and when to look at the manner we apply Medical Care. Should we have Socialized Medicine or continue on the path of those insured have and if not insured do not have Medical Care.