By Ken Reed
When it comes to sales pitches to seniors about insurance to fill the gaps in Medicare coverage, there is a lot of incomplete and deceptive information involved. And sometimes, total misinformation.
Unfortunately, Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Namath is contributing to the confusing mess.
In a TV ad, Namath tells viewers to “get everything you’re entitled to.” He then lists several extra benefits seniors can get by purchasing Medicare Advantage plans, “all at no extra cost,” according to Namath. He then urges people to “call the number on your screen now. It’s free.”
There’s only one problem. The actual cost can be substantial. A couple who buys a Medicare Advantage plan could pay up to $13,400 a year before their new plan pays for anything.
According to Trudy Lieberman, a fellow at the Center for Advancing Health and a health, retirement and insurance writer for Consumer Reports and Columbia Journalism Review:
“These are new benefits the government has allowed private insurers to sell in the hope of getting more seniors to leave traditional Medicare in favor of a privatized system. By transferring more costs to seniors, the government saves money.”
The bottom line: Congress has allowed a complicated and chaotic marketplace for seniors to navigate.
“It’s just too complicated,” says Bonnie Burns, a Medicare consumer advocate.
“No wonder people throw up their hands. That’s why people sign up for an Advantage plan with little or no premium and find out what the costs really are as they use benefits through the year.”
Burns added, “It would be so much easier if Medicare Advantage plans and drug plans were standardized so people could figure this out.”
Namath’s endorsement has only served to muddy the waters further for seniors.
Say it ain’t so Joe.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #30 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The State of College Athletics with Dr. David Ridpath: Problems and Potential Solutions – Ridpath is a sports administration professor at Ohio University and a long-time member of The Drake Group, a college sports reform think tank.
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Episode #29 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Honorable Tom McMillen Visits League of Fans’ Sports Forum – McMillen is a former All-American basketball player, Olympian, Rhodes Scholar and U.S. Congressman. We discuss the state of college athletics today.
Episode #28 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Chat With Mano Watsa, a Leading Basketball and Life Educator – Watsa is President of PGC Basketball, the largest education basketball camp in the world. We discuss problems in youth sports today.
Episode #27 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Kids’ Sports: How We Can Take Back the Game and Restore Quality Family Time In the Process – Linda Flanagan is author of “Take Back the Game: How Money and Mania Are Ruining Kids’ Sports and Why It Matters.” We discuss how commercialized and professionalized youth sports are hurting kids and their families.
Episode #26 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Fix Youth Sports? – John O’Sullivan is Founder and CEO of Changing the Game Project and author of “Changing the Game: The Parents Guide to Raising Happy, High Performing Athletes and Giving Youth Sports Back to Our Kids.”
Episode #25 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Physical Education Should Be a Critical Component of K-12 School Design – Michael Horn is co-founder of the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation.
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
- Reed Appears on Ralph Nader Radio Hour League of Fans’ sports policy director, Ken Reed, Ralph Nader and the New York Times’ Tyler Kepner discussed a variety of sports issues on Nader’s radio show as well as Reed’s updated book, How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan. Reed's book was released in paperback in February, and has a new introduction and several updated sections.
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
Vanderbilt Sport & Society - On The Ball with Andrew Maraniss with guest Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director for League of Fans and author of How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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