But death isn't the only outcome. With old age come the afflictions of aging. Alzheimer's. Arthritis. Blepharitis. Cataracts. Coronary artery disease. Dementia. Emphysema. Hearing loss. High blood pressure. Hip fractures. Macular degeneration. Menopause. Osteoporosis. Parkinson's. Urinary incontinence. Are you dialing the suicide hotline yet?
Even worse, there are the con artists constantly hovering nearby to bilk seniors. Typically, those on fixed incomes see their purchasing power diminish as the general effects of economic inflation and the special effects of health care inflation attack their savings and pensions. They can ill afford scams and cons taking what little is left to them.
Then there are companies who take money for services that seniors don't want or need and refuse to deliver. Let me warn you of one such trap, mail order plans that promise to help alleviate the high cost of prescription medicines. In truth, I'm fortunate that I have been prescribed just five medications taken in daily doses. Many, especially those older than myself, take many more. All of mine are available in generic form that greatly diminish the cost. My spouse takes a couple that cost hundreds of dollars monthly. Thus, we were happy to subscribe to a service that provided these drugs at a significant savings and with the convenience of home delivery at no additional cost, OptumRX.
We were lulled into a false sense of security. First, this service was recommended by the insurance company that provides our Medicare Part E Prescription coverage, United Healthcare Services. Second, the system worked in the beginning. The prescribed medications arrived at our home on time and we could see a small savings. Unfortunately, we authorized OptumRX to debit our checking account.
You're cringing already, aren't you? You should be. The convenience of electronic funds transfers is a modern miracle. I well remember my class on negotiable instruments in law school when the professor spoke of the fact that one day we might pay for goods and services without checks or cash. That promise wouldn't arrive for at least another thirty years, and when it arrived we were surprised, though we shouldn't have been, to discover the opportunities for fraud and abuse that the system would provide.
It doesn't take dishonesty to bilk someone out of their money. In the case of OptumRX, I'm willing to allow that they made an honest mistake. They even admitted the mistake. However, once the mistake is recognized, it should be rectified. Delaying repayment should be considered criminal, especially when dealing with those least able to afford the loss. In this case, they promised repayment within seventy-two hours and now, two weeks later, we're still waiting even though we've called repeatedly and they keep promising.
Thinking back on all the on-line purchases we've made over the past couple of years, we've been very lucky. We've never before encountered such a problem with Amazon or other vendors that we've used. However, in the future, I will never again authorize direct payment from our bank accounts. I will use MasterCard exclusively. Thus, we'll have recourse to correcting errors without having funds taken.
This cautionary tale most likely appears remote from the heights of that hill that I passed over so long ago. If you pay attention to my warning at all, you may choose to retire rich. Surely that will save you the problems to which I refer. Good luck with that dream, especially with this economy. Better that you prepare yourself with knowledge of the future that awaits you.