Blogging is probably like sending angry emails: you should wait until you’ve calmed down. But I just can’t help it right now. I’m livid.
So I’ve become something of a patient advocate recently with all this geriatrics and frail elders and polypharmacy and whathaveyou, so I thought it’d be a good idea to try to get a grip on the Medicare Part D stuff that’s going around to physicians and Medicare recipients. (My father and grandma tried to attend an information session, but it was so crowded even at the encore performance that they couldn’t get in. Note: this is not a testament to how popular the new plan is; it’s a testament to how damn bureaucratic, confusing, and complicated the thing is.) So I do a Google search for medicare part d to get some general results. I get a ton of ads (a clear sign that there’s money to be made by all comers), and I click on some ads, some links. A mish-mash of everything to get an overview, and possibly recommend a site or two to my one or two readers.
I come to my first site, and this is the one that drives me over the edge: AARPMedicareRx.com. I see AARP in the URL, and assume it’s a special site the AARP has created to help its members. Then I see the AARP logo in the top left corner, and assume I’m right. I click on “Learn the basics,” and get this first paragraph:
If you’re eligible for Medicare, you have a new option for getting coverage to help with the cost of prescription drugs: AARP MedicareRx Plan is a prescription drug plan that is approved by Medicare. This national plan is provided by United HealthCare Insurance Company* and begins January 1, 2006.
I’m confused. “What? I thought there were multiple options for the Medicare Part D plan, not just one.” I re-read, I scroll down to the asterisk, and reailze I’ve been had. This is not an AARP site at all; no, it’s a United HealthCare Insurance Company website with an AARP (“pharmacy services” bullshit) logo. And if a third year medical student with a major in health policy and a pretty good understanding of the US health care system makes this mistake, you can bet countless others will, too. I’m sure that’s the goal. Show the AARP logo so you get the confidence of the AARP, then tell consumers there’s *one* new plan to help people out.
I’m disgusted. If anyone knows who I could contact to complain about this blatant deception, please let me know. (Isn’t this what the copyright laws were supposed to be for? Protecting consumers from misleading or fraudlent information?)