I’m happy Medicare marketers, leave me alone

Published 11:17 pm Thursday, November 16, 2023

It’s that time of year.

I don’t mean Thanksgiving or the Christmas season.

It’s the Medicare enrollment period: a period from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7 when people on Medicare can join a program or change to another program if they so wish.

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I can’t speak for other seniors (yep, since I’ll hit 73 next week, I qualify), but I dread this time of the year. Although I technically have been on Medicare since I was 65, I officially joined the ranks of the senior citizens when four years later I signed up for Social Security and went through the process of selecting one of the many Medicare supplement programs.

I’ll never forget how good I felt when I signed up for my program and told my old insurer, which was an argument for a national health care program, goodbye. Little did I know the barrage of propaganda I would be inundated with for a little over a month each year.

Although the push to get folks to sign up for a Medicare program is year-round, the push to sign up hits another level when the sign-up period begins. It starts with the TV ads with pitchmen like Joe Namath pushing folks to call the toll-free number to have their program evaluated and see whether they can get a better deal. There are the hysterical ladies who are sure they’re missing something and either call or get their husband to call and find out what other benefits are available. Each commercial ends with a happy couple glad they called.

And then there are the letters and packets mailed to the house with the ominous words, “Important! Your Medicare update is here,” or the packet from “Medicare Headquarters”  – all official-looking with an inference that it’s from the government until you open up the envelop and find out it’s from some company pushing a certain program.

The final assault is the telephone call. The robocall that puts some person (sometimes with a foreign accent so thick you can’t understand them) wanting to talk you about your Medicare policy. I have a policy that I don’t answer phone calls from numbers I don’t recognize, but every once in a while I slip up and answer a mystery call. When I hear what it is, I hang up.

Medicare agents, marketers and spokesmen, I have a Medicare policy I’m happy with. I’ve looked at the propaganda about other policies and programs and they don’t match what I have. That’s not saying I won’t change in the future but if I do, it won’t be because you swayed me. So do me a favor. Stop sending me letters and get off the tube. TV is wasted on me because I’ll change the channel. Go find some younger person to harass.

John Surratt is a reporter for The Vicksburg Post. Contact him at john.surratt@vicksburgpost.com.






About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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