I was shopping on Sunday afternoon and met a woman who thinks she can’t afford Medicare. She told me she works full-time at the retail store so she can get the company health insurance.
This woman is 70 years old and looks like she has a bad back. I told her I had recently been on a vacation in France and saw that workers in French retail stores all sit when they work at the checkout counter. I saw this in grocery stores, clothing stores, and at the airport. French workers don’t stand all day – and they don’t pick up luggage to throw it on the conveyer belt at the airport.
This lady told me she’d love to be able to sit because standing for hours is very painful on her back and legs. At the end of her shift she goes straight home to bed. She said she’s working because she can’t afford Medicare. She said the Medicare premium is $115 per month and then she would have to get a supplement and a drug plan. She said she pays $90 per month for her employer health insurance.
The store was not busy, so I we talked for a minute. I told her the Medicare premium has gone down and is now $104.90 per month. I also told her she could get the state to pay her Medicare premium if her monthly Social Security check is less than $1,300. She would also get help with her drug costs. She said her Social Security check is less than $1,300 and she seemed interested in knowing more. She asked for my name and number and I told her to call me so I can explain the help that is available to people like her.
I hope she calls me because it is sad that she thinks she can’t afford Medicare. I feel bad that a 70-year old American thinks she needs to a full-time job for the health insurance. And I want to start a movement to get American retailers (and airlines) to allow employees to sit at the check-out station (or the airline ticket counter). Why should an employee be required to stand for hours at a time as they serve the public? I think it’s unhealthy and inhumane. Do American customers really demand that the person serving them should stand for eight hours a day? And is this even healthy?
For details on assistance programs for people on Medicare, check out these blog posts :