63 and older have fewer medical options

As of Jan. 1, many doctors in Durango are refusing to take new patients older than 62. I turned 63 in February. I am new to Durango and asked friends to recommend doctors, and when I called those offices, I was first asked if I was older than 62. When I said “yes,” the staff person said the new policy for their office (and all the offices I called – three altogether, but representing many doctors) was to decline anyone as a new patient older than 62. I had to go to only those doctors who would see Medicare patients. All of this does not apply to established patients older than 62 – just new ones. This new policy seems to have been amended to, “We might accept you as a new patient, but once you turn 65, we will refuse to see you and will no longer accept you as a patient.”

This is all coming about, apparently, from the new legislation attached to Medicare. At least, this is what I have been led to understand. From my end, I only know that I am being refused by a recommended doctor who is taking new patients but won’t take me because I am 63. I can only imagine the care I might receive from an overworked (and apparently underpaid) Medicare doctor, especially as more and more new patients older than 63 are forced upon those doctors.

I work and have Blue Cross/Blue Shield health insurance and am paying an extra premium in addition to my monthly premium so that after I retire I can buy BCBS insurance at the same price and receive the same benefits. My goal, and the goal of those folks who are paying that additional premium is that we will not have to rely on Medicare. When I explained that to the staff at the doctors’ offices, they believe the doctors will be paid by Medicare and all the insurance I will have purchased will be used only to back up Medicare. So folks like me have no good options.

Bart Womack

Durango

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