Veteran Journalist Shares Her Personal Experiences Entering the Medicare System

Trudy Lieberman has had plenty of experience with Medicare—of course up until now most of it was from the outside looking in. As a journalist for more than 40 years specializing in insurance, health care, health care financing and long-term care, one would think that when the time came this year for her to enter the Medicare system herself she’d be an old pro. Unfortunately, as Ms. Lieberman discovered—and shared with the readers of her exceptional five part article series in Time Magazine’s Moneyland—entering the Medicare system as a patient can be confusing for even the most knowledgeable of inside reporters.

While her experience as a reporter may not have made signing up for Medicare any easier for Ms. Lieberman, her willingness to share her entrance into Medicare with readers may make the process easier for the rest of us. Here are just a few of the issues Lieberman has written about thus far:

Sorting through Medicare information and choosing a plan: “Brochures and ‘lead cards’ for Medicare Advantage plans and Medigap policies began flooding my mailbox in January. This stuff can be a real burden, but some of it’s worthwhile – some even important – so you can’t just throw it all away…Hopefully, my sorting system (partly informed by decades of reporting on Medicare, partly by common sense) will make the task easier for you.

Choosing a Medigap Plan to fill in the gaps of Medicare coverage: “It quickly became clear that the push to give consumers more choices and more information has actually made the job of picking a Medigap plan much harder. I ended up having to check out multiple websites, brochures, handouts and make several toll-free calls for assistance.”

Finding a plan to cover the cost of prescription drugs: “I decided to ask my pharmacy about the retail cost of the drugs I currently take. I’ve always had great drug coverage, so it was shocking to learn that my prescriptions would cost $3,131 a year if I had to pay out-of-pocket. (Of course, from interviewing seniors over the years, I know some folks actually pay four or five times that amount.)”

Part five comes out this week, and we look forward to reading the conclusion of this helpful series. We know how confusing and time consuming dealing with Medicare can be, so it’s helpful to know that many elder law attorneys specialize in helping seniors with this very process—we can help you too.