Apr 12, 2015

Isn't It Nice That They're Checking On Me!

     An elderly relative of mine recently passed away after a brief illness. A few months before he died he was surprised to receive a call from a nurse who had been hired by his last employer's retirement plan. The nurse wanted to come out and check his blood pressure. He thought that it was great that they wanted to check on him. I knew the real reason this was happening. They weren't doing this just to be nice. My elderly relative really hated to go to the doctor and hadn't been to one in several years. Since he had supplemental health insurance benefits through his former employer they knew he hadn't been to a doctor recently. They were checking to make sure he was still alive. I expect that Social Security would have been checked on him eventually for the same reason but he got sick and started using his Medicare and then he died. Social Security checks on people drawing retirement benefits who aren't using Medicare. Social Security's Office of Inspector General (OIG) has issued a report recommending that the agency extend this program to those drawing disability benefits. That makes good sense. However, as always, the agency's ability to undertake such efforts is limited by inadequate staffing caused by an inadequate administrative budget. The inadequate staffing is probably why my elderly relative's employee retirement plan checked to make sure he was alive before Social Security did.

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