Medicare is a federal program which pays for some of the costs of healthcare for people over 65 years of age. It is also available to younger people with qualifying disabilities and to retirees of certain types of companies.


Simply put, Medicare is confusing. There are various parts of Medicare commonly referred to as Parts A, B, C and D. Part A in general covers some in-patient costs. Part B has a monthly premium ($104.90 per month in 2014) and an annual deductible ($147 in 2014) and it helps cover some out-patient health care costs. There are co-pays for many services. (A co-pay is the portion of the bill that a patient is required to pay at the time of receiving medical services.) Part C refers to Medicare Advantage plans which are insurance plans available for Medicare eligible enrollees and are offered by private insurance companies, but which must meet certain minimum Medicare Parts A and B determined coverage criteria. Part D is a drug coverage plan that has monthly premiums (averaging $40/month per some websites) plus additional costs to the enrollee after spending more than a certain amount on medications. Then there are “Medi-Gap” plans which are insurance offerings to which a person can subscribe to help pay for some of the gaps in (services not covered by) Medicare. Confused yet?


Due to all of these variables it is impossible to accurately predict what any particular individual’s out-of-pocket expenses will be for a given year while on Medicare. If an elderly person chooses Medicare Parts A, B and D, they are likely going to spend $1,738.80 at the bare minimum in 2014, not including co-pays, deductibles and co-insurance amounts.


Unlike Medicare, membership in The Doc Shoppe is straightforward with simple pricing. For $75/month (plus a one-time $50 registration fee) each person over 64 years of age receives all the membership benefits available at The Doc Shoppe. There are no deductibles, co-pays, co-insurance or any other out-of-pocket expenditures to worry about at The Doc Shoppe. Our prices are clearly listed on-line and in the office.


Membership at The Doc Shoppe can pair nicely with Medicare, especially Part A. For people who have chosen not to participate in Medicare Part B, a Doc Shoppe membership may serve their outpatient physician office visit needs for <75% of the total annual cost of Medicare Part B enrollment alone. (Remember that Medicare Part B helps cover some of the costs of out-patient care that is not included in Doc Shoppe membership. Also, Medicare Part B charges a 10%/year premium penalty for every year that elapses from the time a person becomes eligible to enroll in it until they actually do enroll.)


Due to the complexities of Medicare, deciding on becoming a member of The Doc Shoppe based on financial considerations alone will not always be easy. We understand and are very sorry about that difficulty. Our goal, on the other hand, is to simply offer you the best services we can at a very good price.  To assist Medicare-eligible people in making the decision about whether to join The Doc Shoppe or not, we offer (and always have offered) memberships with no required time commitments beyond the first three months. If you are unhappy with, or cannot afford, a membership in The Doc Shoppe, you may end your membership at any time for any reason.


Whichever decision you make regarding Doc Shoppe membership, we want to wish you the very best of health!