Saturday, November 4, 2023

Catching up with my high-school buddies

One of my high-school buddies decided that it would be "cool" if we met a few times a year.

Gerry is not the guy I would have guessed when it came to "stepping up" but we all changed a great deal since we graduated.

We met today at a restaurant on Lansing's west side.


One of the hot topics was Medicare. We graduated in 1977 and most of us are 64.

One of my high-school buddies took many risks during his career and, for the most part, they paid off. He believes that for the really important things you ask for help, the best help you can afford. He has an "insurance advisor" to help him navigate. He doesn't need to guess.

He cautioned us that every person has a different situation and the "right" answer for him wasn't necessarily the right answer for everybody else. Three facts were critical to optimizing his ballistic path from healthcare insurance during gainful employment to Medicare.

  1. He had a gap between gainful employment and being eligible for Medicare
  2. His wife is younger than he is
  3. He travels more than most people (out-West, Florida, Michigan, Australia/NZ)

His insurance advisor told him to purchase his healthcare insurance with his wife as the primary and with him as the secondary. The advisor told him the advantage is that when he became eligible for Medicare that his wife could drop him from the policy. Done the other way, the policy would be cancelled when he hit Medicare eligibility and the re-quote might be significantly more expensive, plus it would take time and attention.

His advisor informed him that one of the major decisions involved "Advanced" or "Supplements". Advanced (inclusive) might make sense for some people but it gets complicated if your (inclusive) did not extend to Florida or Utah.

Another one of my buddies recently lost his wife to cancer. He had mostly good things to say about Medicare. He wishes they had chosen to have prescription coverage (Part D?). They flat-out got hammered on prescription costs.


The conversation veered to "Where were you on 9/11"?

One of my buddies joined the Air Force after graduating from college. He first flew C-130s and then graduated to jet propulsion. After mustering out, he flew passenger planes.

He was in Alaska on 9/11 and was stranded in Juneau.

Another took his kids to a park that was upwind of one of the Gerald Ford Airport runways (Grand Rapids) and had them look up at the sky. No contrails. Just like the Indians saw. Quiet, too.

Meanwhile, another of my buddies was telling us that his daughter is in Taiwan on an internship and to further her education. I pray that this does not turn into a 9/11 story.


Most of them keep track of classmates on Facebook.

I am almost tempted to join. Almost.

It sucked to not know that one of my best high-school friends had lost his wife.


  1. Feet on the ground
    Heads in the heavens
    We're the class of 77

  2. I was at work when the towers fell, watched it live on a tv in the break room. Went to my Dad's house that evening and stared up at the silent empty sky. It's the only time I remember seeing no planes or contrails....just quiet.

  3. I was in college at the time - it was one of the few schools that didn't stop or close anything; it was normal schedule throughout.
    I saw the second plane hit the WTC live on TV leaving the cafeteria.

  4. I was painting my parent's home. The following week I was to start a new job as pilot. In some ways, commercial aviation still hasn't recovered.

    My siblings have finally stopped trying to sell me on FB. I was on for a year or so over ten yrs ago. Too much drama, insipid, time suck. I stopped when FB changed their TOA so that everything you post now belongs to them orotected by copyright.

  5. ERJ. The Book of Face is what one makes of it. I had it for years so my parents could see what I was doing. I know many that have an account and post absolutely nothing, but use it to keep up with the lives of others.

  6. On insurance coverage when you stop working. I agree with your friends thoughts on coverage until you are covered by Medicare. For Medicare itself think carefully before deciding to take Medicare Advantage vs. Traditional Medicare. The extra perks of MA can be great but understand you are buying into using the insurers networks. My parents and in-laws all ran into issues with being referred to hospitals they would not have chosen. When they needed inpatient rehab care they were referred to facilities many miles away from home and family. Traditional Medicare doesn't have those limitations. if you have to appeal a decision traditional Medicare is much more consistent in the process than the hundreds of insurers involved in MA.

    1. I have MA and live in small town. In a very derivable area is 4 hospitals and most types of doc's. I pick and choose my doc and hospital. Haven't been told ever that I couldn't do something or not go somewhere. I also never need to call to ask.

  7. I was overseas when 9/11 hit, and was working with people from a lot of different countries. It was a strange feeling. I was overseas when the Branch Davidian compound was stormed and burned to the ground, too. We were all watching it on CNN. That was a bizarre feeling, too.

    Medicare Advantage plans are to the advantage of Insurance Companies, which is why many of them are free, or very low cost - you're the product, just like social media. Medicare Supplemental plans are to your advantage - and that's why you pay for them. Look into type "G" plans.

    1. The key thing to be aware of with medicare advantage plans is that they set price caps on certain treatments. You know, the expensive ones, that keep you alive when you're sick.

  8. On 9-11 I was in central US, so 1 hr behind NYC.
    I worked downtown and was putting money into the slot box for surface parking lot . I asked a woman next to me if she heard about the plane (first one). She had.
    I walked the 1/4 mile to my office and everyone in office was glued to the TV at our financial firm.
    When 2nd plane hit I knew it was "an attack". Immediately told my girlfriend to go downstairs to ATM and pull out her entire balance in the event there was more attacks to come including financial system. I did the same except I went to a teller at the main branch. Teller didn't question or limit me (work acquaintance😉)
    Boy.....that was a stack. Sweated carrying that back to car that evening.

  9. We were home for a couple of days and hubby yelled to get TV on. Just as I turned it on the 2nd plane hit. Then later when they all saying they came out of Boston I picked up phone to call son as he had an early morning flight out of Boston that morning. Called his secretary but she didn't answer nor did the firm. She finally returned my call about 6 hours later to tell me my son's plane had been re-routed to New Orleans. He had called as soon as they landed. Worst day of my life watching people jumping off the building, towers falling and son being missing. Eternally grateful he wasn't on one of those planes.

  10. Yep, quiet and wondering about friends, especially in the Pentagon. Found out I lost three there. Also friend was a pilot for American who traded off on Flt 175.

  11. Was at work kind of out in the boonies when first plane hit. Wife called me. Everyone took the rest of the day off and went home to be with family.


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