The doctor is not in


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  • Photo: Sole Treadmill, via flickr



GRAYING NEW YORK

BY MARCIA EPSTEIN

The women in my group were talking about the difficulty of finding doctors who accept traditional Medicare. One member said it took her two years to find a doctor when hers retired. It seems that one has to make many phone calls and be told that the doctor is no longer taking Medicare before finding one who will. Even calling hospitals for referrals will not assure you of a doctor who will take Medicare and not just submit the papers after you pay upfront. Many won’t even submit papers – pay the fee and that’s it!

To me this is a moral failure on the part of the medical profession. Yes, doctors have the right to make money, as does everyone else, but to toss aside a whole part of the population in the search for riches is stomach turning. The best way to find doctors who take Medicare is networking: Ask everyone you know, send e-mails to friends and acquaintances, ask on Facebook.

I’ve found wonderful doctors this way, but it takes work. Also, most of the walk-in clinics take Medicare. I’ve heard of seniors who use these centers as their primary medical care and it works out fine. It might be the future for us if doctors don’t realize that their obligation is to take care of people. The first question I ask when I phone a doctor is “Do you take Medicare?” Usually I’ve done my research and have a recommendation, but I still ask. It can change from day to day if a doctor decides his or her Medicare list is closed. We seniors are being thrown under the bus, and I resent it enormously. If you’re living on Social Security and a small pension, as many are, the situation can be dire. Let’s hope it’s not going to get even worse in the years to come because of what’s going on in Washington, D.C.

Don’t forget to check out the Senior Planet website. It includes may of Senior Planet’s own events, as well as community happenings, such as free weekly chair yoga at Rutgers Presbyterian Church at 236 West 73rd Street. You can attend from 1 – 2 p.m. on Thursdays. The website is a trove of information about movies, museums dances, walks and more. DOROT also has chair yoga, as well as many other free activities. Not much is free these days; it’s worth checking out.

I am guilty of not using all the senior discounts available to me. Hey, if I’ve got to be a senior, I might as well reap the benefits. For example, many retailers offer discounts to oldsters. Walgreens offers 20 percent off on certain Tuesdays. Applebee’s Restaurant offers a senior discount, but you must remember to ask for it. Ben and Jerry’s and Blimpies also offer senior discounts. You can check out websites such as the Senior List and Retired Brains which post and update businesses that give breaks to senior customers. The Sciddy App has lists of U.S. businesses that offer discounts to those 50+. The discounts consist of food, entertainment, home services, travel, heath and some others. The app has alerts to notify you of the discount when you are at that particular establishment. You also can search for senior discounts near you by using the Around Me feature on Sciddy. Some of the senior discounts available to seniors are at the 9/11 Memorial Museum, the Rubin Museum of Art and many Broadway shows. Ask at the box office. And remember, there’s no shame in asking. We went through a lot to get where we are.


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