Chris Core sig new

Now that the election is finally over, all those political TV commercials have, thankfully, disappeared. Next up is Dec. 7, when the myriad of Medicare commercials will finally leave us for another 10 months or so. Which are worse, the political ads or those for Medicare? I can’t decide. Both of them make me reach for the mute button.

Just think about how much money Medicare must pay the insurance companies offering Advantage plans. Enough that they can flood our TVs with hours and hours of commercials trying to lure our business.

I had to go onto Medicare this year for the first time. It’s the most confusing thing I have ever done. First of all, if you are enrolling in Medicare where would you go to do that? Medicare.gov? WRONG. You go to Socialsecurity.gov. Of course that makes no sense, but hey, were are dealing with the federal government here.

Anyway, not having any idea what I was doing, I signed up for Florida Blue Advantage. I know you’ve seen their commercials. The problem is there is medication I need that under their plan would cost me, out of my pocket, about $46,000 a year! Obviously I can’t afford that, so now that we are in open enrollment season, I need to switch to a plan with better coverage. But diving into that rat’s nest is daunting at best.

Fortunately for me, I saw a newspaper ad for an insurance expert named Robert Inghram. I called Bob, who was super nice, very patient and well-versed in the complex web of Medicare. We spent a great deal of time on the phone, then he spent a great deal of time finding me the best prescription drug coverage. His service was free to me; he is paid a commission by the insurance company. I highly recommend him or another licensed independent agent if you are applying for Medicare. I promise you will thank me later.

What I’m really curious about is how other people handle this Medicare mess without somebody like Bob. Medicare is terribly confusing, and it seems to me ridiculously over-complicated. This is probably because big pharma keeps its checkbook handy to bribe — er, donate to political candidates who make sure Medicare continues to be a zoo. Hence the money that funds the various Advantage plan commercials drowning our airwaves right now.

I suppose I should be grateful for Medicare. At least I can get medical services and prescription drugs at an almost reasonable price. But going through the process of signing up and selecting a plan was so complicated and time-consuming I thought I might have a stroke, which is pretty much the opposite of the purpose of Medicare, isn’t it?

Also, why is “open enrollment” limited to just 7 weeks a year? By Dec. 8, enrollment snaps shut. If you miss the deadline, too bad.

Imagine if the car insurance companies followed that model. Oh, that might be a good thing now that I think about it. It would mean LiMu, Doug, Flo, Mr. Mayhem, Jake and all the others would disappear from my TV screen. And that would be refreshing.

Chris Core is a former Washington, D.C. radio and television personality who now lives in Pass-a-Grille. He is a winner of the Edward R. Murrow Award for outstanding achievement in broadcast journalism.