Old people apparently do not have enough reading material.

I know this because, in the space of a month, Medicare and AARP/United Healthcare have sent me two publications about Medicare. I hesitate to call these things “booklets,” because each magazine-formatted guide is thicker than the annual Cabela’s sporting stuff catalog.

I anticipate and enjoy the Cabela’s catalog. The Medicare books, not so much.

I do appreciate that the Medicare books are printed on newsprint and not glossy paper. These Medicare folks know their audience: it’s the older Americans who are keeping the newspaper industry alive, buying and reading their news in print instead of online. (I especially acknowledge this. Some of my readers of a certain age do not DO the Internet. That’s why my column is printed each week now in The Sentinel of Gloucester County, so older folks can read it and maybe get ink on their fingers.)


They’re pretty tricky publications. The print, while not exactly large, is not exactly small, so older folks should be able to read it OK. Well, now that I’ve looked again, the government version COULD be called large print, after all. Way to go, Medicare. You DO know your audience.

The government book has a little more than 150 pages —it’s hard to keep track of, because they add letters after some of the page numbers to confuse me.

The AARP book is of about the same heft and thickness, but the page numbering system as all hooey. They have pages numbered in sections and I wasn’t about to sit here and count the pages (although I have been known to do things like that out of dogged determination.)

I am an avid reader, but I have not read either publication. It’s like a huge instruction manual for getting older, and I am having first-hand experience, thank you. I figure if Medicare or one of my Medicare supplements don’t pay for something, then I’ll have to get involved with reading up on the regulations.

I’ve lived in New Jersey so long now that, when I received the government publication in the mail — it’s called “Medicare & You” — I wanted to add, “Perfect together.”

It wasn’t all that long ago that I had to sign up for all the Medicare extras — Part B, etc. — and figure out how to pay for them. I’m still not clear about how to pay one of them, and, frankly, I am not sure which one it is.

I figure I’ll find out pretty soon, it being the beginning of the month and all.